Have you ever been in a quiet room, gnoshing away on a crunchy snack, and been taken aback by the sound of your chewing? Have you drawn the ire of your coworkers while you innocently munch on a few potato chips? At some point, you’ve likely been aware of the sound your food makes while you eat it but you have probably never considered how much that sound impacts your eating habits.
Previously, research on eating habits has focused on extrinsic factors like environment and emotions, but all of that is beginning to change. The focus is shifting to connections between eating habits and the senses. This may shock you, but sound is an important sense when it comes to eating.
Researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado University decided to examine the connection between food sound salience (the sound the food itself makes) and food consumption levels.
In three separate studies, lead researchers Dr. Ryan Elder and Dr. Gina Mohr, found a consistent result — the crunch effect. The study’s authors found that increased attention to the sound your food makes, may serve as a “consumption monitoring cue” which can then reduce consumption.The Surprising Way Sound Can Affect How Much You Eat Click To Tweet
If you are aware of the sound of your eating, you are likely to eat less. The research suggests that eating around loud sounds — like the television or loud music, can mask the “crunch effect” and cause you to lose track.
During the study, participants only ate around 50 calories of the snack that was assigned to the experiment so it is unclear if the decreased consumption from louder chewing can lead to any significant weight loss. But, when you look at it cumulatively, it could be rather significant. “The effects many not seem huge—one less pretzel—but over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up,” Dr. Elder says.
None of this means you have to start eating in complete silence, but Mohr and Elder do suggest you try to inject a little more mindfulness into your eating habits. If you are aware of all of the sensory properties of your food, you are more aware of what is going into your body, and you are far more likely to make healthy food choices.
Following a healthy diet, like the one laid out in the BodyRock Meal Plan, is only a start. It is important to slow down at meal time, to quiet your mind and body, and listen closely to what you are hearing and feeling. If you tune in to your body, it will tell you everything you need to know.
What do you think of this research? Do you think you eat less when you are aware of the sound of your food?
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