platesAnother day, another dieting study, right? But today brings one that, I must say, is decidedly not the "same old, same old." Using a plate or glass or bowl that is either red or red-trimmed or even has a red sticker on it may prompt people to eat or drink less, a Swiss study has found. Researchers think it may have something to do with our association of the color red with the concept of "stopping" or "danger." Yes, just the merest hint of the color red on our dishware may help us take in less calories and lose weight. Isn't that crazy?

OK, so first of all, who thinks up studies like this? But also, how fascinating!

Who would really have predicted that something as minor as a red sticker on a cup or bowl could make people alter the way they eat -- or could be a key to weight loss? (Blue stickers and plates made people eat more. Cobalt and Blue Willow fans, beware!) Our brains are so mysterious when it comes to eating and appetite and dieting, aren't they? So many factors affect our appetites: everything from our emotional state to the context of consumption (as those of us who are nighttime-in-front-of-the-TV snackers know only too well) to the color of the dishes.

And in fact, it's not only dish color. Researches suggest that people who want to eat less might simply place a red napkin next to their dish, or use a red placemat, to send a "halt" or "caution" signal to their brains.

I must say, although on some level this study seems pretty ridiculous, it also seems like an easy (and kind of fun) thing to experiment with. I might look for a red bowl for my salty nighttime snacks -- just to see what happens, you know? At the very least, it's an excuse to buy a pretty new dish.

Do you think you might try to use a red bowl or napkin to trick yourself into eating less?

 

Image via Tiger Girl/Flickr