Serving up meals on red plates or drinking from red cups cuts consumption by about 40 per cent, scientists have found.
German and Swiss academics behind the discovery say the colour red may encourage diners to avoid snacking because it is commonly associated with the idea of 'danger, prohibition and stop,' the Daily Mail reported.
They claim the discovery means the Government and food industry could use red packaging on unhealthy foods as a deterrent - and could even use more red in pubs to prevent people drinking too much, they claimed.
In the study, 41 male students were asked to drink tea from cups marked with red or blue labels. They drank 44 per cent less from cups with red labels.
In the second part of the study, 109 people were given ten pretzels each on either a red, blue or white plate. Those with a red plate ate fewer pretzels.
"Red may be associated with alarm or something primeval," said Ursula Arens, from the British Dietetic Association.
The results were published in the journal Appetite.