The Link Between Lighting & Dieting

It’s a basic biological concept: environmental cues have a significant effect on behavior.

Companies use the concept to their advantage all the time.  Red, yellow and orange make us feel hungry, so fast food restaurants incorporate those colors into all their branding.  Wide, open entrances make a building seem more alluring, so retailers design stores with glass frontages and seamless entries.

The thing is, you have some control over some of your environmental cues.  Why not use them to your advantage to help support that New Year’s Resolution to shed a few pounds?

Take a look at the lighting in your kitchen to determine whether it’s helping or hindering your goals.

Lighting that is too dim (think candlelight levels) will encourage you to eat more.  Extremely dim light interferes with our perception of satiety.  Also, low lighting lessens inhibitions, so you feel more comfortable finishing off massive portions.

However, know that it’s important to create a balance before you light up your kitchen like a baseball stadium.  Super bright lights increase stress levels, which stimulates your appetite.

Our suggestion?  Install Lutron dimmers on the light switches in your kitchen and dining areas.  While cooking, switch them on at full capacity.  While eating, dim the lights to about 70%: just enough to create a calming atmosphere, but not so low that you can’t see the food on your plate well.

And if your kitchen is currently decked out in red, yellow or orange, consider applying a fresh coat of blue.  The color blue suppresses appetite.  One study from Contract Magazine investigated gala attendees who dined in different color rooms: Those that dined in the blue room ate 33% less than those who dined in the yellow or orange room.

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.

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