Here’s some interesting research on how our surroundings can influence the amount we eat. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology transformed a room at a fast food restaurant in Champaign, Ill., outfitting it with white tablecloths, candles, low lighting and soundproofing to shield diners from the blaring music in the adjacent room. The goal was to entirely alter a typical fast food setting. However, they didn’t change the menu. Customers were randomly assigned to one room or the other. The researchers reported that those seated in the “fine dining” room spent an average of 4.7 percent more time eating than those in the regular restaurant setting and also ate less of the food they ordered, 86 percent compared to 95 percent in the adjacent room with the bright lights and loud music. Those in the fine dining room consumed an average of 775.3 calories compared to an average of 949.2 calories for the patrons next door. They also rated the food more highly on questionnaires. The study was published in the August, 2012, issue of Psychological Reports.