Did you know that the color of your food, dishes, table linens and walls can all have an effect on your appetite? Some colors can excite your senses and entice you to eat more, while others can actually help curb mindless snacking.

To decrease appetite, cool, subdued colors – particularly blues and greens – are the most effective. In contrast to the digestive stimulating effects of red and yellow, blues and greens decrease appetite and reduce the urge to overeat.

During this festive holiday season, red is one of the most prominently used colors. Whether it’s lights, ornaments, Santa’s suit or those special holiday table settings, red is all around us at this time of year. The fact that your choice of plate color could make a big difference is worth keeping in mind if you are trying to keep from overindulging in too many high calorie holiday treats.

According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, called “Plate Size and Color Suggestibility: The Delboeuf Illusion’s Bias on Serving and Eating Behavior,” it’s not just plate size that encourages people to serve themselves a certain amount of food, but also plate color.

A Boston University psychology study first published in 2004 found that eating food from a red plate could increase your calorie intake by a whopping 25 percent!

Researchers concerned about the poor nutrition of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease have used this information to their advantage.

Alzheimer’s disease and eating challenges often go hand in hand. As Alzheimer’s progresses, poor nutrition can aggravate confusion and lead to physical weakness, as well as increase the risk of infection and other health concerns. Significant weight loss affects 40% of people with severe Alzheimer’s disease. Weight loss can be distressing to family and hunger can cause agitation in the Alzheimer’s patient.

Some people with Alzheimer’s disease aren’t eating enough because they cannot always see all the food on their plate. Because progressive neurological diseases often affect vision, people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease cannot process visual information as well as they used to. They lose depth perception and contrast. If you can’t see your food, you can’t find it and you can’t eat it. This can play a huge role in food intake, considering that just the sight of food fires neurons in the hypothalamus which affects appetite.

If you are struggling with this common challenge, why not try switching to using red dinner plates, bowls, and even coffee mugs? It couldn’t hurt and may actually help your loved one or caregiving patient.

As for those of us who are not looking to increase our calorie intake over the holidays, we can use this information to help us avoid those unwelcome extra holiday pounds.  Stick with white table settings for your holiday dinners and parties and you may be able to keep one of the most common items off of your list of New Year’s resolutions!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. In addition to her positions as entrepreneur, health care executive, educator, radio segment contributor and media guest, Edwards-Tate is also a wife, daughter, and dog lover. Read more  LifeCycles in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow At Your Home Familycare on Facebook and on Twitter @AYHFamilycare.

Copyright © 2012 by At Your Home Familycare

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