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6 Tricks Restaurants Use Against You

26th July 2013

Restaurants are booming business.

Restaurant-industry sales are projected to be $660.5 billion this year. But the restaurant industry’s gain is your loss—all this eating out can devastate your waistline and your health.

Safeguard your gut against the most frequent tricks of the trade by reading up on the secrets restaurants don’t want you to know.

1. They play fast music to get you to eat quickly.

We tend to do things to a beat. Think of how you walk when you listen to music on headphones—slower with slow music, faster with fast music. The same goes for chewing. It benefits restaurants to get you to chew and swallow quickly so you eat as much as possible before realizing you’re full.

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2. The music is upbeat so you’ll be happy.

When you’re in a good mood, chatting and enjoying your time with friends, you’re too busy enjoying yourself  to pay attention to the amount you’re eating.

3. They distract you with loud music and entertaining décor.

Ever wonder why the walls in so many restaurants are covered floor to ceiling in memorabilia? Or why the music can be so loud? Or why a restaurant would hire live entertainment? Entertaining elements like this distract you from the quality and amount of food you’re eating.

One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate lunch while listening to a detective story had lower self-restraint, which led them to eat significantly more than those who were fully focused on eating. (2)

Eating while distracted impairs your memory for how much you’ve eaten and leads you to overeat at your next meal.


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4. They use bright, happy colors that make you want to eat.





Red, yellow, and orange are all common colors in restaurant motifs, and for good reason—these three colors are shown to make people hungry.

5. They use special lighting.

Restaurants use soft, soothing lighting to make you less self-conscious about all that food you’re eating. Or they use bright light to get you to eat more food, faster. If you’re ever in a restaurant where windows seem to be at a premium, keep in mind it’s probably because they’re manipulating the lighting to get you to either stay longer and eat more, or eat quickly and get out so the next hungry customer can get in.

6. They offer a large variety of foods to get you to order more.

When there is a variety to choose from, we tend to eat more. Do you usually eat an appetizer, a main course, a side or two, and dessert with your meals at home? Probably not, but when you eat out you probably do. A lot of tantalizing menu options makes it easy to order a lot of food, for fear of missing out on something amazing.  And it’s why buffets are especially dangerous (6).







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