Eating healthy isn’t easy, especially when there are so many amazing restaurants to try. A few nights out with friends each week can start adding up on your waistline, but not for the reason you might think. It turns out that where you actually sit in a restaurant could affect your health. For serious.
Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior and nutritional science at Cornell, visited 27 eateries across the country, mapping out the layout of each one and then tracking what diners ordered After sifting through months’ worth of teriyaki-stained receipts, they found the following:
- People order healthier food if they sit near a window or in a well lit part of the restaurant.
- The closer a table was to a TV, the more fried food a diner ended up purchasing
- People who sat close to the bar (within two tables’-worth of space) drank an average of three more beers and drinks for a table of four than those sitting further away.
- People sitting in the darkest part of the restaurant, usually farthest from the door, were least likely to order salad and 73% more likely to order dessert.
- People sitting at high-top tables ordered more salads and less sweets than other diners in the room.
Now some of these findings actually make a fair amount of sense. If it’s darker, you might feel less guilty about your plate if no one can see it. Being in the sun or near the outdoors might make you think about healthy activities, prompting that side salad order instead of fries.
The truth is, we don’t yet have data explaining exactly why this is the case. But hey, if you’re trying to be a little healthier, ask for a table near the window and see what happens. You never know until you try!
Do you agree with this funky study? Tell us why or why not in the comments below!
(h/t Science of Us)