October 22, 2018
Eating? Turn the Volume Down
Wellness Tip

Eating? Turn the Volume Down

by Berkeley Wellness  

If you’re watching your weight, here’s another reason not to listen to loud music or the TV while eating: It may cause you to eat more because you don’t hear yourself chewing.

It’s well known that being distracted while eating, as opposed to being mindful, can lead to overconsumption. But a series of experiments in Food Quality and Preference suggest a novel explanation for how external noise can play a role. In the key experiment, participants who wore headphones playing loud background noise ate more pretzels than those who listened to quiet noise, which allowed them to hear themselves chew.

“Consumers who are distracted, or who are in the presence of environmental cues that mask intrinsic food sound, may inadvertently suppress an important consumption monitoring cue,” the researchers concluded. In other words, being mindful not only of the taste and appearance of food but also of the sound it makes when chewed can help “nudge” people to eat less.