September 12, 2010

Let There Be Light !!....[when we eat]

As  food scientists , we are always taught the importance of light in affecting our senses. Light is a main factor while evaluating food . Thus, when performing sensory evaluation tests , a specific type of light of  specific intensity should be chosen according to the aim of the experiment done on the food product.

For example, if we were testing an " upgraded product" and we wanted to see if consumers can detect the change in taste integrated in it , we evaluate it with the previous version of the product by performing a "Triangle Test". The lights in this test should be dark ( dark red rather than the normal light bulb in homes) to mask any difference in appearance that can affect the panelist's judgement immediately and let them indicate the product as being totally different.

This is an example of how light affects our food experience. Another example is will be an extract from the "Scientific American"  magazine.

An article published in Scientific American ( Mind & Brain section), reviews the effect of darkness and light on our eating habits. The article thoroughly cites a  new scientific study  " Dining in the dark. The importance of visual cues for food consumption and satiety"(Scheibehenne B, et al., 2010).

64 Participants were served food in a dark restaurant .Half of them received supersize portions and thus they ate 36% more food. Participants normally weren't able to  precisely estimate their actual consumption than those who ate the same meal in the light.

Some scientists claim that this reason is because the eye is main detector i.e the eye can accurately evaluate how much the body needs food and how much it can consume and how much it consumed, whereas the stomach would take its time to judge appetite and satiety!

Of corse other scientists refute these findings by claiming that many factors weren't taken in consideration.

Perhaps that  is why they call "Light Food " , when there is light , you will eat less :P

You can find the whole article on this link : 

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