Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

The bright colors and loud music found in a typical fast-food joint may be contributing to customers' overeating, according to a study recently published in Psychological Reports. Researchers converted Hardee's franchises in Illinois into dual restaurants in which one half kept its noisy fast-food persona while the other half used softer lighting and "jazz ballad instrumental" music. Interestingly, both halves served the same menu, but customers who chose the fine dining side, while ordering what they normally order, consumed over 170 calories less. In addition, they took longer to eat, which "challenge[d] the usual notion that eating in a relaxed environment encourages diners to eat more over a longer period of time."

What's the Big Idea?

According to research Brian Wansink, "These results suggest that a more relaxed environment increases satisfaction and decreases consumption. This is important information for fast-food restaurants, which are often accused of contributing to obesity. Making simple changes away from brighter lights and sound-reflecting surfaces can go a long way toward reducing overeating - and increase their customers' satisfaction at the same time.

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