Friday, September 21, 2012

Softer restaurant music, lighting can results in 18% lower calorie consumption

A gin and tonic is mixed at a hotel bar in Beverly Hills, California December 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Dear J,

Since early adulthood, I've been aware that the slower and more mindfully I eat, the more satisfied I am.

The following articles spotlight a simple technique for diminishing appetite by "environmental control" without having to work on (additional) "behavioral change."

By eating in the more relaxed environment of "a modified Hardee's dining room" -- with low light, minimal noise and soothing music --patrons left 18% more food on their  plate - the equivalent of 175 calories per meal. 

"They ate 5% more slowly, chatting more and chewing at a more leisurely pace." 

Furthermore, these patrons reported feeling "more satisfied and happier" than those who "wolfed" their food. 

Potentially, 175 fewer calories per meal is 525 fewer calories per day - 3675 a week.

All at the cost of increased enjoyment!

The most relaxing music I know -- and I may have given you a copy already -- is "Vivaldi for Valentines."

If you do not have a copy, I will give you one at Thanksgiving.



Softer restaurant music, lighting can help cut calories: study

Aug 30, 2012 

(Reuters) - Just as music and lighting can influence what shoppers buy, toning down the tunes and dimming the lights in a fast food restaurant can help diners enjoy their meal more and eat less, according to a U.S. study.
After transforming part of a fast food restaurant in Illinois with milder music and lighting, researchers found that customers ate 18 percent fewer calories than other people in the unmodified part of the restaurant.
"When we softened the lights and softened the music in the restaurant it didn't change what people ordered, but what it did do was lead them to eat less and made them more satisfied and happier," said Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and consumer behavior at Cornell University in New York.
In the study published in the journal Psychological Reports, Wansink and his co-author Koert Van Ittersum, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said the bright lights, stimulating colors, sound-reflecting surfaces and loud music in fast food restaurants are not designed to be relaxing.
So they improved the mood in a section of a Hardee's restaurant for the study, adding plants, paintings, indirect lights, tablecloths, candles and instrumental music.
After seating customers in both the original and restyled sections of the restaurant, they timed how long their meal lasted and how many calories they consumed. Customers in the modified section ate longer than those in the main dining area, consumed fewer calories and rated the food as more enjoyable.
"Spending that extra time eating a little more slowly at a more relaxed pace made a world of difference, not just to how much they ate but how much they liked it," said Wansink, a former executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and the author of the book "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think."
"These results suggest that a more relaxed environment increases satisfaction and decreases consumption," he added.
About one in three adults and one in six children and teens in the United States is obese, according to government figures. Wansink, who is sending the findings to restaurant chains, said some simple changes could help people eat better and enjoy food more.
"If softer music and softer lighting seem to get people to eat less in a fast food situation, why not try the same thing at home?" said Wansink.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney)

Quieter dining rooms with softer lighting result in more moderate eating, study finds

Mi Piaci's dining room is pretty quiet, and the lights are very low. Good thing, with those huge portions! (Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer)
Watching your weight? If so, here’s one more reason to seek out quieter dining roomsReuter’s published a story today about a Cornell University study published in the journal Psychological Reports that found that when music and lighting in a fast food restaurant were turned down, diners consumed 18% fewer calories. ”When we softened the lights and softened the music in the restaurant it didn’t change what people ordered, but what it did do was lead them to eat less and made them more satisfied and happier,” the story quotes Brian Wansink, co-author of the study, as saying.  Wansink is a professor of marketing and consumer behavior at Cornell and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think(Alan here...
Eating in a more relaxed setting, it seems, led people to eat more mindfully and therefore to eat fewer calories. Food for thought, no? Maybe part of the answer to our nation’s obesity epidemic starts with quieter, more relaxed dining rooms.
If you’re wondering where you can have an experience like that here in Dallas, check out our slide show featuring 10 dining rooms quiet enough for civilized conversation.
Thank you to Ron Ruggless of Nation’s Restaurant News for passing along the story.

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