Hate to diet? It’s how we’re wired

If you’re finding it difficult to stick to a weight-loss diet, scientists say you can likely blame AGRP neurons — hunger-sensitive cells in your brain. New experiments show these neurons are responsible for the unpleasant feelings of hunger that make snacking irresistible. The negative emotions associated with hunger can make it hard to maintain a diet and lose weight, and these neurons help explain that struggle. —> Read More

How an RNA gene silences a whole chromosome

Researchers have discovered how an abundant class of RNA genes, called lncRNAs can regulate key genes. By studying an important lncRNA, called Xist, the scientists identified how this RNA gathers a group of proteins and ultimately prevents women from having an extra functional X-chromosome — a condition in female embryos that leads to death in early development. These findings mark the first time that researchers have uncovered the mechanism of action for lncRNA genes. —> Read More

Here’s How Restaurants Manipulate Menus To Make You Spend More Money


Americans are spending more on eating out than ever before, and restaurants are doing everything they can to up the bill. Professionals known as “menu engineers” work to increase the amount of money consumers will spend by looking at the profitability, placement and popularity of certain items.

Last week, Mental Floss published some of the psychological tricks menu engineers use to persuade diners to order more expensive items. Restaurant consultant Aaron Allen told the outlet that removing the dollar sign from prices makes customers more likely to spend more money. “We get rid of dollar signs because that’s a pain point,” he said. “They remind people they’re spending money.” To eliminate that “pain,” restaurants sometimes even spell out prices.

And to make it seem like you’re getting a better deal on certain dishes, restaurants often put the priciest items at the top of a given list, so the following items look like bargains. Customers should also be more skeptical when they’re leaning toward ordering a dish located above the midline, on the upper right corner of the menu — that’s where menu engineers stash dishes the restaurant wants you to order most.

Aside from placement, also watch out for the “house wine.” Allen previously told The Huffington Post that it’s usually the worst value on a restaurant’s list because of its high markup and popularity among customers.

With all these menu elements working against diners’ wallets, there are some key habits customers can develop to cut costs while eating out.

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