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An Easy New Way to Eat Less

You already have quite a few tricks up your sleeve that may help you eat less—chewing more, sleeping more, and drinking more water, to name a few.  Well, the latest trick may be the boldest one of all: Eat off of bright red plates, and you could eat less overall.

That’s the conclusion from a new study published in the journal Appetite. For the study, researchers gave 240 participants snacks of popcorn and chocolate chips served on either red, white, or blue plates.  And it turns out that those who munched popcorn or chocolate chips off of red plates ate less overall than those who ate the snacks off of white or blue.

Why? While previous studies have suggested that having a color contrast between your food and your dishes is key (presumably because it helps you be more mindful of each bite), this study suggests something else may be at play, too—after all, chocolate chips contrast with white plates more than they do with red ones. It may be that we associate the color red with stopping and caution (hello, stop signs and traffic lights), which subconsciously encourages us to eat less of anything served on dishes that are that color.

However, the researchers do caution that the results may have a caveat. See, they didn’t tell the participants what their intentions were, meaning the red-plate effect was a subconscious one. In other words, they’re not totally sure that intentionally serving your food on a red plate would deliver the same effect since you’d be doing that consciously. Regardless, it can’t hurt to try—especially since festive red plates are everywhere during the holiday season!

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