Hearing Food Sounds May Help You Eat Less
Call it annoying, call it a pet peeve, call it what you will—the chewing, chomping, slurping, and crunching of eating may actually hold some benefit. Food sounds can be considered a “forgotten” flavor sense and may even be linked to how much we consume. Two American researchers recently tested this idea in three different mini-studies, published in Food Quality and Preference.
For the first trial, 181 students were given a bowl of cookies and were asked to eat the snack loudly, quietly or normally. They were told to try at least one cookie and were welcome to eat as many as they liked. Participants told to focus on their eating noises ate 22% fewer cookies than those who just ate normally.
In a second trial, 67 students ate pretzels while listening to white noise at different volumes. Those who heard quiet ambient sounds, meaning they could better hear their eating sounds, ate about 33% fewer pretzels. In a third trial, 156 students were given pita chips along with one of two descriptions: one focusing on crunch, the other focusing on flavor. Those who read the “crunchy” description ate about 18% fewer pita chips.
Sound, along with smell, sight, touch, and of course taste, comprise the external sensory experience of eating and can affect how we respond to internal hunger cues. When it comes to weight management, portion control is king, and mindful eating—that is, paying attention to and appreciating all aspects of your food, including sound—can increase meal satisfaction and keep portion sizes in check.
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Published May 1, 2016