Eating your meals from small plates and making sure they’re red. Handfuls of studies have found tricks to help dieters eat less and, in turn, lose weight.
This time around, scientists say you ought to turn down the TV and background noise at mealtime – hearing the sound of your chewing and chomping, and the crunch of the bites of food can be enough to help you feel fuller.
It’s been dubbed “The Crunch Effect” by scientists out of Colorado State University. They say the noise your food makes while you’re eating plays a major role in how much you consume.
“Sound is typically labelled as the forgotten food sense. But if people are more focused on the sound food makes, it could reduce consumption,” Dr. Ryan Elder, a co-author of the report, said.
“When you mask the sound of [eating], like when you watch TV while eating, you take away one of those senses and it may cause you to eat more than you normally would. The effects may not seem huge – one less pretzel – but over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up,” he explained.
The researchers want to clarify: they’re not referring to the sound of sizzling bacon or buttery popcorn at the movie theatre. The Crunch Effect kicks in from the sounds of chewing as you break down bites of crunchy food.
The crunch of an apple, the snap of a celery stalk or even chomping on a handful of almonds come to mind.
To carry out their research, Elder and his team conducted experiments with a group of volunteers to see if noise affected how much they ate.
They had the volunteers wear headphones playing loud or quiet noise while they ate pretzels. The scientists found that those who had louder noise going on ate more across the board.
They say that being conscious of how much you’re eating only works if you can hear and pay attention to the sounds of your chewing. It’s building on research that’s already recommended that diners don’t eat in front of the TV – whenever they do, they tend to eat more.
The full findings were published this week in the journal, Food Quality and Preference.