have suggested an easy way out for those who want to shed pounds.
They should simply change the colour of their plates.
People tend to take more generous helpings when the food they eat
is of the same hue as the crockery on which it is placed, says a
When foods "blend in" with their background, people serve
themselves 20 percent more than if they were serving the same meal
on a plate of contrasting colour.
In the study, people were given either a red or a white dinner
plate and led to one of two buffet tables offering pasta; one in
tomato sauce, the other in cream sauce, the Telegraph reports.
Those given crockery which "matched" their food - red for tomato
sauce, or white for cream sauce - gave themselves helpings between
17 and 22 percent larger than those with plates of contrasting
Further, research has established that the average person eats
around 92 percent of a portion they serve themselves.
The latest study by researchers at Cornell University, US,
repeated several times on groups of 60 participants, found the
actual colour of the food and plates made no difference; what
mattered was the contrast between the two.
Study authors said the colour contrast appears to act as a "stop
sign" reminding people to think about how much food they were
Brian Wansink, professor who runs Cornell University's Food and
Brand Lab, said: "People will generally serve themselves far more
on a large dinner plate than they would on a smaller one, because
the eye is tricked. It seems that colour contrast is one way to
block this illusion."
The research author said those trying to lose weight could help
themselves by buying brightly coloured or dark plates, to provide
contrast with common white foodstuffs such as pasta, rice and
Alternatively, green plates could be used as a way to trick
children into eating more vegetables, he said.