Surroundings influence people's diet

New York, Nov 14 : How much people eat is influenced by their surroundings like ambience, orders placed by others, reveals a study.

Huffingtonpost.com shares a list of things that have an impact on what or how much we choose to eat:

- Where you're eating: Even if your food doesn't taste so good, you might continue eating depending on your environment. A Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin study showed that people ate the same amount of popcorn in a movie theatre, whether it was old and stale or fresh and just-popped.

"The results show just how powerful our environment can be in triggering unhealthy behaviour," said study researcher David Neal, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California.

- What your friends are ordering: Are your friends getting the fries or the salad? It could have an impact on what you choose to order, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economic Association.

Researchers found that peer pressure did seem to have an effect on what people ordered at a restaurant. "We want to fit in with the people we're dining with," said study researcher Brenna Ellison, Ph.D., a food economist at the University of Illinois.

- The size (and shape) of your wine glass: To curb overpouring of alcohol, consider opting for a slimmer wine glass, according to an Iowa State and Cornell study. Researchers found that certain factors tend to increase the risk of overpouring, such as pouring into a glass held by a person (instead of when it's on a table), pouring into a wider glass and pouring into a glass that doesn't match the colour of the wine.

- The ambience: Harsh lighting and loud music can encourage you to eat more calories. Cornell researchers found in a Psychological Reports study that when lighting and music were made softer in restaurants, diners not only ate fewer calories but also enjoyed their food more.

"There are clear implications for restaurants wishing to help consumers slow down and enjoy their food. Yet there are also implications for consumers who want to eat less," the researchers wrote in the study.

- What's visible on your kitchen shelves: You're most likely to eat the first thing you see in your kitchen cupboards or fridges, according to another Cornell study.

"It's not just where we place our food in the cupboards or in the refrigerator," said Wansink, the author of this study.

"It's whether we have a cookie bowl sitting out instead of a fruit dish. It's all these factors, that we think we're too smart to be fooled by - those end up being our demise."

--IANS (Posted on 14-11-2013)

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