1. Be Alert – Healthier
A new study shows that the brighter the room, the more alert you are. Researchers discovered that when you’re more alert, you chose healthier foods.
2. Dining Room Lighting
The authors of this study observed the eating habits of 160 restaurant patrons to start. Those who picked healthier foods off the menu were those in well-lit rooms. In fact, those diners were almost 25% more likely to choose, let’s say, grilled fish over fried chicken with gravy.
It was discovered that healthier options were chosen because the light was brighter. In the dimly-lit room, sales records demonstrated that those patrons ordered almost 40% more calories. The researchers ran four more studies, which included 700 males and females between the ages of 18 and 22. Those results were close-to-identical as those in the original study.
3. Eating Environment
The above study was entitled, “Shining Light on Atmospherics: How Ambient Light Influences Food Choices.” It was published in the Journal of Marketing Research in May 2016 and included four authors. One of the authors, Dr. Brian Wansink, is a behavioral scientist and has made it his mission to change eating behavior. His philosophy is “eat less and eat better.”
Wansink is an author in his own right, as well as the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. Besides recommending brighter lighting, he suggests reducing kitchen clutter. In order to choose healthier foods, he also suggests keeping a fruit bowl on the counter. Jokingly, (or maybe seriously), he advocates electrifying the cookie jar.
Eating in dim lighting isn’t horrible. You actually enjoy the food more because you eat slower. (Think about what you order and how you eat at the movies.) Perhaps ordering in bright light and then eating in the dark might be an interesting experiment. Bottom line, anything that can help us to make healthier food selections is worthwhile.