A recent study carried out at Oxford University into food has come up with some interesting findings. It seems that our senses and not just our taste buds can make a big difference to our appetites and our enjoyment of food.
Posh restaurants have instinctively known this for years by creating an ambience of quality and relaxation. Now thanks to Dr Charles Spence, his new science which he calls gastrophysics, and his book called the Perfect Plate, anyone can find the secrets of the fine dining experience.
According to Dr Spence, our enjoyment of the food is determined by our multi sensory influences and not just the taste of the food itself.
So what adds To the Pleasure of a meal?
Many things. The right music at the right volume can make a difference. In one survey carried out on 3,000 people at a wine tasting. Consumers greatly preferred a wine after the lighting and music was changed even though it was exactly the same wine they had already rated.
The weight of the cutlery is important too. A heavy knife and fork seems to suggest that the meal is better quality. A menu on a heavy book rather than a flimsy piece of paper adds to the anticipation of the meal.
According to the professor, making a quick decision about what to eat in a restaurant adds to the enjoyment too. When you order instinctively you are more likely to enjoy your meal rather than over analysing it.
A warm personal welcome and knowledgeable waiting staff makes the experience more special and as a result the food more tasty.
Appetite and Weight loss?
There are some interesting points about appetite and weight loss too.
The professor advises against watching TV while eating at home. That way you are more likely to realise when you have had enough to eat, rather than chomping away absent-mindedly.
And although dining with friends or eating in company is enjoyable, it does tend to increase your food consumption.
The professor claims that eating with one person increases your food intake by 35%, which rises to up to 75% when eating with at least three others.
The colour of your plate makes a difference too. A red plate decreases your appetite. Perhaps it is the association with danger or perhaps it is because it is the colour of blood? Nobody knows for sure but most people find a red plate just unappetizing.
Although Dr Spence and Gastrophysics is mainly useful to the catering industry – and BA have already taken many of his suggestions on board, it does have relevance to weight loss.
So want to lose weight naturally without making dietary changes? Switch off the TV, eat alone and use a red plate!
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