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How Color Affects Your Appetite

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How Color Affects Your Appetite

Think about the color of the food you eat on a daily basis. There’s probably a lot of leafy green, some nice fruity reds and oranges, cereal browns and dairy whites. But how about blue? Okay, maybe blueberries qualify, or if you have an exuberant potato vendor at your farmers market you may be getting some blue-ish potatoes–but in general blue isn’t the darling child in nature’s scheme of food hues. Consequently, we haven’t evolved an automatic appetite response to blue–in fact, our primal instinct seems to tell us to step away from the blue food.

According to color professor J.L. Morton, when our earliest ancestors were foraging for food, blue, purple and black were “color warning signs” of potentially lethal food. Food researchers agree–when humans searched for food, they learned to avoid toxic or spoiled objects, which were often blue, black, or purple (berries, eggplant, etc, aside). When food dyed blue is served to study subjects, they lose their appetite. Personally, I’ve always found blue food too creepy, but I always assumed it was because of the dye–I guess there’s more to it.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

197 comments

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8:02PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

Awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing this interesting article.

10:29AM PDT on May 23, 2011

love it!

9:10PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Funny, that!

6:57PM PST on Feb 26, 2011

noted, thanx

5:08PM PST on Feb 23, 2011

I like this article. it was fun to read it. Thank you so much for sharing.

10:40AM PST on Feb 23, 2011

lol Nice!

8:43PM PST on Feb 22, 2011

This is funny, I love it.

9:10AM PST on Feb 22, 2011

I love color and the effects that color has on people. It's just awesome and interesting.

7:18AM PST on Feb 22, 2011

I studied color for my degree & know quite well how powerful it can be! It can make a person down-right emotional!

5:16AM PST on Feb 22, 2011

Thanks for the article.
I believe it true - we don't see blue products as delicious as for example yellow ones, because in nature there's almost no blue, edible things. And at the same time - blue muffins, lollipops, ice-cream etc. came up because people (especially children) find them unusual.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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