Tricks Restaurants Use to Make You Eat More and Faster

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Several studies
have shown that people eat faster and leave sooner when loud music
is playing – so restaurants have been turning up the volume
to increase flow-through.

And this isn’t
the only tactic restaurants use. Diners seated at tables in the
middle of the room tend to be less comfortable and eat faster. The
same holds true for uncomfortable chairs.

They also want
you to eat more as well as faster. Warm colors – like red,
orange and yellow – stimulate the need to eat.

CNN reports
that:

“On
hectic nights, the reservationist at Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto
in New York City will inform diners that they need the table back
in 90 minutes for the next party. If you lurk over your digestif
too long, chef Cesare Casella will place your name on Salumeria’s
‘no salami’ list.”

Source: CNN
April 30, 2010

Dr. Mercola’s
Comments:

If you’re
in the mood to linger over appetizers and savor each bite of your
main course, all while enjoying conversation with your dining companions,
your local, trendy restaurant may not be the best choice.

There are
actually many reasons why dining out may not be your best option
– not the least of which is food quality, or lack thereof –
but there’s also the issue of atmosphere.

Clearly there
are many exceptions to this rule, but most restaurants primary mission
is to generate a profit, and the more diners they can seat in any
given night, the fatter their profits will be. Knowing this, those
in the industry have carefully crafted tricks of the trade designed
to subtly get you in, stuffed and out in the shortest amount of
time possible.

As CNN reported,
tactics include:

  • Playing
    loud music, which makes people eat faster and drink more (in a
    shorter amount of time)
  • Seating
    patrons in the middle of restaurant, surrounded by chaos
  • Using uncomfortable
    chairs
  • Displaying
    elaborate dessert trays, cheese carts and other visual enticements
  • Decorating
    in warm colors like red, orange and yellow, which stimulates your
    desire to eat

These strategies
strongly encourage you to rush through your meal, a practice that’s
not only unpleasant but bad for your digestion and waistline as
well.

Why Eating
Fast is Not Recommended

When you visit
most restaurants, taking your time to eat and chew your food thoroughly
will likely go right out the window. There are certainly select
upscale dining establishments that will march to a different
drummer, and pride themselves on allowing patrons to linger and
really taste each course of their meal … but these are the
exception rather than the norm.

For the most
part, you can expect that eating out will encourage you to shovel
in more food, faster, than you likely would at home. Why is this
not a good idea?

It will make
you eat more, for starters.

A study published
in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
last year found that subjects given identical servings of ice cream
on different occasions released
more hunger-regulating hormones
when they ate it in 30 minutes
instead of five. So although the serving size remained the same,
they felt fuller after savoring the ice cream compared to when they
wolfed it down.

In another
study from 2008, subjects also reported feeling
fuller when they ate slowly
. Interestingly, they also ended
up consuming about 10 percent fewer calories when they ate at a
slow pace as opposed to when they were rushing.

A third study,
published in the British Medical Journal, found that eating
quickly, and eating until feeling full, tripled
subjects’ risk of being overweight
. The authors concluded:

“Eating
until full and eating quickly are associated with being overweight
in Japanese men and women, and these eating behaviors combined
may have a substantial impact on being overweight.”

Eating
your food slowly
, chewing up to twice as long as you normally
would, will also instantly help you control your portion sizes,
which naturally decreases calorie consumption.

Another benefit
of chewing longer is that your food is digested better. The majority
of your digestive enzymes are actually in your mouth, not in your
stomach. Therefore, chewing your food longer allows it to be broken
down better.

You’re
also likely to find that you actually enjoy the taste of the food
more.

Most Restaurant
Food is Far From Optimal

When it comes
to top restaurant gripes, the pace of your meal may actually pale
in comparison to food quality.

I’ve often
wondered how restaurants can offer so many different menu options
and in about 15 minutes, sometimes less, have it sitting in front
of you ready to eat.

This just
isn’t possible if you’re cooking food from scratch.

In reality,
many restaurants are simply buying processed
frozen foods
, popping them in the microwave, and passing them
off as “homemade cooking.” This is something you’d
expect from a cafeteria, fast-food joint or chain restaurant, but
it even occurs at five-star eateries.

Further, daily
specials are not always “the chef's inspiration of the day.”

Instead, daily specials are often dishes prepared specifically to
get rid of ingredients nearing the end of their shelf life. To spot
these iffy "specials," look out for expensive items used
in a way that minimizes their flavor, such as cut and braised lamb
chops playing second fiddle in a dish.

Also, similar
to the way grocery stores pack the most visible shelves with the
most profitable foods, restaurant dishes that earn the most profit
are always located in the most eye-catching spot on the menu. This
says nothing for quality, however.

It’s
common at restaurants for inexpensive fish such as pollack to get
passed off as something more expensive, like cod. Or, Maryland-style
crab cakes may be made from crab that came from Vietnam. Most fish
in restaurants is also farm-raised,
which you definitely want to avoid.

Even the healthiest
restaurant meals are typically loaded with calories as well. According
to a registered dietician and representative for the American Dietetic
Association, restaurant meals average between 1,000 to 1,500 calories,
and because they’re served in gigantic portions, you’re
likely to eat more than you would at home.

The end result
is that eating out often means you’re typically eating low-quality
food at a premium price, a lose-lose situation for both your health
and your bank account.

Unfortunately,
many Americans have made eating out a way of life. In 2008, the
average U.S. household spent close to HALF of its food budget on
meals eaten away from home, according to The Survey of Consumer
Expenditures for 2008, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Better
Choice for Your Meals

Most of you
probably know that I am not a major fan of eating out, primarily
because of the major unknowns at most restaurants in terms of food
quality, preparation and addition of toxic substances like high-fructose
corn syrup, preservatives and MSG. Also, as I said earlier, much
of the food is actually cooked in microwaves to speed up delivery,
and I try to avoid any food that has been cooked
in a microwave.

Instead, I
have long stated that if you want to be optimally healthy, you,
ideally a family member or someone you hire needs to put some serious
time into preparing your meals. This way, you can prepare your meals
with unprocessed, high-quality food, you control the portion sizes,
and you can enjoy your food in an atmosphere that is calming and
not rushed.

I am fond
of saying that if you fail to plan you are planning to fail so before
you go to bed at night make certain that you know what you are going
to eat the next day so you don’t have to rely on purchasing
unhealthy meals.

For help getting
started, please do read my 14
tips to eat healthy on a tight budget
along with the quick,
home-cooking tips in the article How
to Cook Whole Food From Scratch – and Keep Your Day Job!

It takes a
bit of planning on your part, but please make an effort to eat the
majority of your meals at home – and rely on dining out for
only the rare occasion.

Related Links:

May
20, 2010

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