If you’d rather chow down on a juicy red steak than a side of green broccoli, a new study suggests you may have another scapegoat besides your taste buds. The eyes may play a significant role in humans’ eating preferences, and our peepers appear to be biased towards red foods over green ones.
The findings come courtesy of a team of researchers at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy. “According to some theories, our visual system evolved to easily identify particularly nutritious berries, fruits and vegetables from jungle foliage,” Raffaella Rumiati, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, explained according to the Daily Mail. “We are visual animals, unlike others, dogs, for example, who depend on their sense of smell.”
In the paper, published today in the journal Scientific Reports and described by Rumiati as one of “only a few studies … focused on the topic,” the Italian research team discovered that bright red foods created more arousal in participants and also led to a perception of higher calorie counts. Meanwhile, green foods had the opposite effect. “This result holds for a large array of food comprising of natural food - where color likely predicts calorie content - and of transformed food where, instead, color is poorly diagnostic of energy content,” the authors wrote. They then added, “Importantly, this pattern does not emerge with nonfood items.”