Can Plate Colour Help You Eat Healthier?

Science-Report_Can_plate_colour_help_you_eat_healthier_The-Health-Sciences-Academy

by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.

Did you know that sweet food can taste salty when served in a blue bowl?

How is that possible?

Discover the surprising influence dish colour has on your sense of taste.

Grab “Can Plate Colour Help You Eat Healthier?” below:

 

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Conveniently download this 23-page science report. Contains links to extra reading materials and scientific references.

Topics covered in this report:

  1. Flavour in the eye of the beholder
  2. Flavour rhymes with colour
  3. Blue Curaçao mouthwash
  4. A rainbow of plates and tastes
  5. The popcorn experiment
  6. The flavour of a coloured bowl
  7. Salt, sugar and other colours
  8. Taste that… colour?
  9. A healthy dose of doubt
  10. More colourful evidence
  11. A side effect of evolution?
  12. Colourful applications?
  13. More fun with your greens
  14. Improved perception in the elderly?
  15. Your key takeaways
  16. Learn more
  17. References and resources

 

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After reading, think of ways to use this information as the basis of conducting your own mini-experiments that can help improve your (or your loved ones’) enjoyment of healthier meals.

What new ideas can you come up with? Share them with our community in the comments section below – and make sure to implement them!

The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right
Alex Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for students. She is a Harvard-trained scientific researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups every other Thursday.
Connect with Alex via email.


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35 Comments

  • CHELLA S

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Praise the Lord. Best wishes to all

  • Eleni

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Excellent presentations! Thanks for all the interesting scientific work presented so well!

  • Suzanne

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Thank you for sharing your findings. I enjoyed it very much. Very interesting and educative.

  • Kay Oldroyd

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Really great information. Thanks for putting this together. One thing I would’ve like to have seen though was more visuals with colour!

  • Steven

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Thank you for providing your findings on the influence of colour on eating behaviour it was interesting. Would you be able to provide the original methodology and results of your experiment?

    • Alex

      Reply Reply April 30, 2015

      Steven – you’re so welcome! If you click on the links in References and Resources you’ll see some of the full text studies, and the new paper will be available in PubMed on/from 6th May. We’ll paste the link in here for you, so keep an eye out :-)

  • Maurice

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Time for a change of crockery then! Red it is for me.

  • Kevin Gibson

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    a very interesting and educational research, thought provoking.
    will try different coloured plates when feeding children

    • Alex

      Reply Reply April 30, 2015

      Kevin – fantastic, and have a play around with non-plastic dishware too, although it may require more supervision, I’ve seen some research on texture and may make a difference :-)

  • Nora Allan

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Will definitely recommend eating on red plates or bowls to my clients trying to break their sugar addictions! Love your publications!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply April 30, 2015

      Nora – Thanks so much for your lovely feedback, and what a great idea!! Keep track of your clients’ progress and let me know how it goes :-)

  • Chef Annmarie

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Thank you!! I do a lot of work with young children…I love the idea of the pink swirl straw served with a green healthy drink… What I find so fascinating is that colors are associated with different chakra points in the body…the orange color you spoke of with the hot chocolate is associated with the Sacral chakra…maybe this has something to do with perception of flavor?? Just a thought…I am going to do my own experiment. Have a great day!!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply April 30, 2015

      Chef Annmarie – Such a pleasure to have a chef sharing with us, let us know how you get on with your experiments!

  • Adaeze

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Many Thanks to the Scientists for sharing knowledge with us. Wish you more knowledge as you stay blessed.

  • Bea Kolman

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Thank you so much for sharing this information!!!

  • Kate

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Thank you.

  • sam

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    In responding to you, today, from the “jungles’ of South America. The only British Colony, British Guiana, now Republic of Guyana. My research is ripe for test here as I have in front of me an dish of tiger shrimps with tomatoes and a dash of brown rice. This dish is usually given to me on an opaque ,glass plate. I will try it now on a red plate. Alas the result is that I am enjoying it but remarkably I am filled and satisfy not asking for more. In contrast I usually ask for seconds. Just to correct on both occasions, I did have some mango chutney and drank coconut water with a straw directly from the coconut. All in the name of proper Scientific research. Keep the good working.
    Reporting from the trenches of South America. Sam B

    • Alex

      Reply Reply April 30, 2015

      Sam – What a nice “lab” to be experimenting in!! Love to hear you’re trying new things, as I always say: science without application isn’t more that just a fun factoid that makes good dinner conversation. Great work!

  • cynthia

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Hi Alex, I totally agree with the findings. I normally use inexpensive, brightly coloured plates and a friend gave me some very elegant white plates. I much more enjoy my food — and I am not much of a cook — on my coloured plates.

    I have a question. Recently, I was doing well with my carb reduced lifestyle and of late I have been on a bit of a carb binge. I seem to find myself hungrier and hungry more often. Do you know if this is a result of the increase in carbs or is it something else. I love to blame everything on menopause. :) However, I may have to take responsibility and get back to the previous eating patterns.

    Thanks for your hard work. The course is excellent and I always look forward to the next report.

    Going out to look for some red plates!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply April 30, 2015

      Cynthia – Nice realisation about your beloved coloured plates! More fun, isn’t it?! Regarding your question, it depends on what you mean by “carbs”? For example, dietary fibre is a zero-cal carb and eating tons of it is okay in my book, particularly from greens :-)

      • cynthia

        Reply Reply April 30, 2015

        I am referring to the “not so good” carbs in potato chips, etc. and not eating enough of the good carbs.

        • Alex

          Reply Reply April 30, 2015

          Cynthia – I know, I was being cheeky :-) The source of carb cravings can be incredibly complex to spot – hundreds of different things could trigger them, with everything from hormones, stress, anxiety, nutrient deficiencies, jet lag, sleep debt and even binge-sleeping over weekends, to physical activity (lacking or excessive), your eating history, your personality type, your brain chemistry and your food environment (at home, at work, or even the shops you walk by or what your closed ones eat!). The list continues. Have a look at our flagship course (the curriculum will give you tons of ideas): https://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/cpd-accredited-cyq-endorsed-clinical-weight-loss-certification/ I also think you might enjoy the potato chips bowl + self-control experiment here: https://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/health-tips/self-control/

  • Ag

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Hello Thank you so much for that another interesting report about colours around when serving food. I knew about it before but never paid too much attention or consider it to be important. Now with my eyes opened wider I will try to experiment and share the results. Thank you and keep in touch ;)

  • christina

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    This is interesting. My fiance’ used to use a lot of salt when cooking before. I recently bought aqua blue plates that we eat every meal out of and he has used less salt! I’m curious to test out the popcorn theory now.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply April 30, 2015

      Christina – your aqua blue plates example is excellent, thanks for sharing! Your fiance’ has become our test subject from now on, I’m curious to see how that “incognito” popcorn experiment goes!

  • Goulven

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Sam! I wish i was there. I once visited friends in French Guiana which – I suppose – resembles where you are (at least for the forest). Great food. I developed a strong taste for chili peppers there (and cured my phobia of tiny european spiders).

  • Richard

    Reply Reply April 30, 2015

    Excellent report… excellent experiments! Really well explained. I’ve printed a copy for my wife, I’m happy to be her guinea pig for the spinach on a red plate experiment! Thank you for the great science you share with us week after week. Best of the best. Honestly.

  • Shirley

    Reply Reply May 1, 2015

    Thank you for sharing the results of your research. love this report, change of crockery this weekend is called for. This is an interesting concept.

  • Sol Bustamante

    Reply Reply May 1, 2015

    What a fantastic research!I’ll try it myself when I get home, though in one reading, I came across something like this, but only this time that I understand why.. Thanks so much for this wonderful effort of sharing to us..

  • Denise

    Reply Reply May 2, 2015

    Thank you so much for this very interesting information! Can’t wait to test these ideas on my 8 yr old.

  • kristene

    Reply Reply May 3, 2015

    What an awesome read. I must admit that when food looks unappealing and lack lustre, I am drawn away from eating it, but if it looks vibrant then yes I do like it. I am particularly keen to try serving spinach on a red plate next time!

  • linda williams

    Reply Reply May 3, 2015

    Hi
    I found the association that our brain makes between colour and taste fascinating, thank you for sharing.

  • Gill Smith

    Reply Reply May 5, 2015

    This is all really interesting stuff. I wonder how little of the colour you need to influence the perception. For example, my plates are all white with a blue rim, bowls are white inside, blue out. Does that count as white or blue? I’m tempted to get myself a sweet-treats red plate either way!

  • trish hetherington

    Reply Reply May 7, 2015

    Thank you for the continued updates on research, both biochemically and psychologically.

    trish

  • Lynton Dawson

    Reply Reply June 12, 2015

    Very interesting article, also seems to go along the lines of previous research that looked at the influence of colours on portion size. Darker colours appeared to lead to smaller portion sizes and increases in satiety over much lighter ones.

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