Health Gimmick of the Month: Appetite-Suppressing Sunglasses


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For a brief stint in and around 2017, at least one company, the cast of “The Doctors,” and even a celebrity or two entertained the idea that blue-hued sunglasses can reduce appetite. 

In fairness to “The Doctors,” they seemed a bit more amused than invested in the idea.

Still, they claimed in this brief spot that “blue is an appetite suppressant,” a legendary utterance not soon to be removed from our team’s inside joke pool.

Is there any logic?

The underlying rationale here is, since blue is such a rarely observed color in terms of the food we eat, blue-hued sunglasses will cause the brain to be turned off from most choices.

Another school of thought offers the idea that colors like blue, purple, and black can elicit a considerably stronger reaction by the brain, as these colors characterize many common forms of mold.

And hey, there actually is a study or two demonstrating that certain colors (not just blue, by the way) actually can exert a negative effect on appetite.

But boy, are there some issues

First of all, if you think the time and energy cost of removing a pair of blue-tinted sunglasses is stronger than the desire for most of us to gorge shamelessly on our favorite foods, well, bless your little heart.

Also, while the research has ignited a spark of potential truth-iness to the color-appetite connection, it often disagrees with itself, and participants were often not aware of the purpose of the study (meaning consciously using this method might not work).

Finally, as most of the studies refer to some form of dashed expectations—hey, that burger isn’t supposed to be blue—as the driving force behind the brain’s lowered interest in the food, we wouldn’t be surprised if the brain eventually acclimated over time, reversing the appetite-suppressing effect.

Perhaps “gimmick” is too harsh a label to slap over this whole enterprise, so we’ll put it this way: the underlying idea is cool, and maybe even has some potential, but the legs aren’t there.

And even if the science did catch up to the product, again—you think I’m not flipping those specs off in half a second to get down on some cheesecake?

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