Study Recommends Bright Tableware and Foods

It seems that brightly colored dishes help people with Alzheimer's to eat a greater amount of food than they otherwise might. Lack of regular eating and weight loss among patients are one of the challenges that institutions and caregivers face.

Brightly colored cups and plates seem to help people with advanced Alzheimer's disease consume food and beverages, says a Boston University study in a recent issue of Clinical Nutrition.

Boldly colored tableware helped Alzheimer's' patients overcome a diminished sensitivity to visual contrast and increased the amount they ate and drank by 25 percent or more.

These findings suggest this approach may be a way to improve nutrition among people with advanced Alzheimer's disease.

About 40 percent of people with severe Alzheimer's suffer health-damaging weight loss. Depression, an inability to focus on more than one food at a time, and an inability to eat independently are among the reasons cited for this weight loss.

The University of Boston team wondered if this weight loss may be caused by visual problems that made it difficult for patients with severe Alzheimer's to distinguish a plate from a table, food from a plate, or liquid from its container.

They found that food intake increased 24.6 percent and liquid intake increased 83.7 percent when the patients were switched from white to bright red tableware.

And food intake increased 25.1 percent and liquid intake increased 29.8 percent when the patients were switched from white to bright blue tableware.

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