It seems if every meal was a romantic one—soft lighting, mood music—we would all be a little healthier.

In a recent study by Cornell University a team of researchers transformed a Hardee’s restaurant from a fast food spot to a date night destination.

The team, led by Brian Wansink, added plants, paintings, tablecloths, candles and some instrumental music to get the mood just right for two lovebirds sharing a meal. The results of the classy transformation, which were published in Psychological Reports, led people to consume 18 percent fewer calories.

“When we softened the lights and softened the music in the restaurant it didn’t change what people ordered,” Wansink explained. “But what it did do was lead them to eat less and made them more satisfied and happier.”

The researchers also found that the change led couples to eat their meals a little slower than before. This extra time spent eating made people reevaluate how much they really liked their meals, which might lead them to rethink that extra order of those greasy fries in the future.

While romantic dining probably won’t become the new dieting craze it definitely doesn’t hurt to enjoy a nice candlelit meal every once a while. Your waistline will thank you for it.

Shannon Carlin, CBS Local


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