When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, we hear a lot of advice about what we eat—but a new study has researchers at Brigham Young and Colorado State universities asking us to focus on how we eat. In fact, they believe they may have discovered a simple trick to help us eat less: listening to ourselves chew.
“Sound is typically labeled as the forgotten food sense,” said study author Ryan Elder. “But if people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption.” Which is exactly what happened when they gave a bowl of pretzels to a group of participants and told them they could eat as many as they wanted.
All of the more than 70 individuals wore headphones and listened to either very loud or very soft white noise. Those who heard the loud white noise could not hear themselves chewing, and guess what? They gobbled up 45 percent more pretzels than those in the soft noise group.
Based on the study results, published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, researchers point out that eating in a noisy atmosphere may not be the best idea if you want to avoid overeating. Instead, it may be best to remove yourself from the racket and practice “mindful eating,” which involves listening to every chomp, crunch, and swallow.