It is not just the colour and size of your plate which is known to affect your food consumption, but the sound of eating too can have a considerable impact on how much food you eat.
Researchers from Colorado State University and Brigham Young University have discovered that the noise, which comes out of your mouth while eating can significantly reduce your diet.
The “Crunch Effect”, as it is called by the researchers, indicates that you are likely to consume less if you pay much heed to the sound of your food that comes out of your mouth while you are eating. Thus, listening to loud music or watching loud TV can cover your eating sounds.
Gina Mohr, the lead author of the study and an assistant marketing professor at CSU, said that for the most part, the sound of food as an important sensory cue in the eating experience was passed unnoticed by both researchers and consumers.
Sound is characteristically marked as the forgotten food sense, according Ryan Elder said further, who is an assistant professor of marketing at Marriott School of Management of BYU. “But if people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption,” he said.
To throw some more light, the researchers are not talking about the crack of crème brulee, the sizzle of bacon or the popping of popcorn, but the sound of mastication such as chomping, chewing and crunching.
Mohr and Elder conducted three separate experiments on “food sound salience” and recommended people to consider their eating sounds, so that they can monitor their consumption.
Through their experiments they discovered people eat in a small quantity when the sound of the food is loud. Individuals who participated in that study were made to wear headphones playing either quiet or loud music while they munched on snacks. Researchers discovered that the louder noise covered up the chewing sounds and so the participants in that group consumed more – 4 pretzels compared to 2.75 pretzels for the ‘’quiet’’ group.
Elder noted that when you cover up the sound of eating, as when you watch television while eating your food, you take away one of those senses and it may lead you to consume more than you would normally do. The outcomes may not be huge – one less pretzel – but over a period of one week, month or year, it could actually add up.
Elder and Mohan said that the crucial takeaway for people is got to be the idea of mindfulness. To put it in other words, being more watchful of not only the physical appearance and taste of food but also of the sound can help in nudging people to consume less.
Therefore, the next time you eat, take out your earbuds and tune into the delightful sounds of your chewing.
This research was published in the academic journal called Food Quality and Preference.