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A painless way to cut calories during the holiday party season: Pile your food on red plates. In a study at the University of Parma in Italy, people were given red, white or blue plates as they freely taste-tested popcorn and chocolate. The finding: Those using red plates consumed 20 to 30 percent less than those eating off of blue or white plates. While previous research has suggested that a contrast between the food and plate color can help suppress appetite, study author Nicola Bruno, Ph.D., points to a subconscious association of red with danger and avoidance, like a traffic light or stop sign, as another possible explanation.