Candlelit dinners lead to over indulgence

By Faeza
27 May 2016

Sometimes nothing beats a romantic meal for two in a swanky restaurant. Good food and great wine over flickering candle light? Yes please! However if you’re trying to shed the pounds, it’s been discovered that choosing an eatery that’s well lit is much more effective on your waistline.

Scientists from America discovered that eating in a bright room led a 16 to 24 per cent increase in people ordering healthy food choices.

The self funded research, which will appear in the Journal of Marketing Research, was co-authored by academics from the University of South Florida, Portland State University, Cornell University and Carlson Rezidor Group of Hotels.

To come to their conclusion the team looked at 160 diners at four casual chain restaurants. The participants were split into two; half of them ate in brighter rooms, and those who did picked leaner food choices such as baked fish and vegetables, over fried foods. In addition to this, sales records showed those who ate in lower lighting ordered 39 per cent more calories.

“We feel more alert in brighter rooms and therefore tend to make more healthful, forward-thinking decisions,” explained Dr Dipayan Biswas from the University of South Florida.

Follow up studies focusing on 700 college-aged students backed up these findings, and found that with the use of a caffeine placebo or by giving participants a prompt to be alert, diners eating in darker rooms will also make healthier choices.

Co-author Dr Brian Wansink of Cornell says it’s not all bad news for romantic restaurants though.

“Dim lighting isn't all bad. Despite ordering less-healthy foods, you actually end up eating slower, eating less and enjoying the food more,” he said, adding that the best way to avoid eating badly is to make yourself feel alert.

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