Home » Archive » Volume 4 (2013) » Issue No.1 » The effect of microenvironment on energy intake and behaviors associated with it: Review

The effect of microenvironment on energy intake and behaviors associated with it: Review

Konstantina Zachari1Eirini Mamalaki1

  1. Dietitians, Postgraduate Students at the Harokopio University of Athens

Pages: 44-50


One way of describing ambience is that it consists of “parts of the environment that are difficult to localize and that surround the organism integrally such as temperature, odor, color, lighting and sound”. The effect of ambience on energy intake and behaviors associated with it has preoccupied health professionals since 1946. Temperature and odor have been systematically studied, whereas findings on lighting and sound are inconsistent, and data on color are extremely limited. Specifically, the odor of the room where the meal is consumed can affect appetite and, therefore, energy intake, predisposing the person positively or negatively. Regarding ambient temperature, studies indicate that in prolonged low temperatures food intake is increased, due to increased Basic Metabolic Rate, while in high temperatures fluid consumption is increased. The color of the microenvironment can indirectly affect energy intake by acting on appetite, hunger and food choice. In regard to ambient lighting, bright light increases eating rate, whereas dim lighting increases energy intake and pleasure of eating. The findings on the presence or absence of lighting are ambiguous. The same applies to the presenceabsence of music, whereas the intensity, tempo and genre of music seem to influence eating behavior. Thus, microenvironment alterations could possibly constitute to efforts on energy intake regulation and weight control.


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