Well Being

The Light In Your Dining Room Could Actually Be Making You Eat More, Science Says

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When setting up the lighting in a dining room, I generally just find myself thinking about what level on the dimmer switch will make me look most attractive and how many candles will be necessary to see the plates on the table versus how many candles will make my guests think I am planning a ritual sacrifice after dinner. But according to a recent study, there’s more than ambience at stake, because the kind of light one is exposed to can affect a person’s appetite and make them eat more or less than they would otherwise.

According to The Huffington Post, a recent study suggests that exposure to blue light actually makes people hungrier, which in turn makes them want to eat more. And this isn’t just a random hypothetical, because we all likely see a lot more blue light during the day than we realize, thanks to computers, cell phones, tablets, and more.

During the study, adults exposed to blue light reported higher hunger levels than adults exposed to dim light. The higher hunger levels stuck around for nearly two hours after the subjects were finished eating, too.

The researchers were looking at the effects of blue light on hunger and food intake because blue light is already known to mess with people’s sleep patterns, and a disruption in sleep can increase hunger and calorie consumption.

“These results are important because they suggest that manipulating environmental light exposure for humans may represent a novel approach of influencing food intake patterns and metabolism,” said study co-author Ivy Cheung, from the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience program.

But Cheung says her research is still in the early stages, and only a small number of subjects have so far been studied. While she says further research could determine the effects of blue light during meals on calorie consumption and sleep patterns, there's no reason yet to replace all your lamps with candles, unless you look really good by candlelight, in which case go right ahead.

(Photo: Shutterstock)