How Hearing Yourself Eat Curbs Appetite

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A new study has found that if you hear yourself eat, you're less likely to overindulge.

Ever noticed that when you eat while watching TV, walking down the street, or listening to music, you don't really know when you've had enough?

Researchers believe that it's because sound has a bigger impact on appetite control than previously thought. And when you remove sound as a sensory cue, your mind doesn't know when your body has consumed enough potentially leading to over-eating.

How was the study conducted?

The study by Brigham Young University and Colorado State University (published in Food Quality & Preference ) required participants to wear headphones while snacking.

They listened to a variation of loud noises and softer sounds.

When tuned into louder noise, the people ate more than when they listened to quieter noise. In fact, louder sounds encouraged them to eat around four pretzels. Softer noise prompted them to eat just 2.75 pretzels on average.

Why does this happen?

The research team believes we need to hear ourselves chewing to prompt appetite management. If we are surrounded by sounds that override the sound of our eating, we lose that sensory input and consume more.

This is known as the Crunch Effect.

For the most part, consumers and researchers have overlooked food sound as an important sensory cue in the eating experience, said study co-author Gina Mohr.

Sound is typically labeled as the forgotten food sense. But if people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption, contributed Ryan Elder. ( source )

And that's not the sound of food while it's being prepared or cooked. It's only the sound of the food being eaten a crunch, chew, or chomp.

When you mask the sound of consumption, like when you watch TV while eating, you take away one of those senses and it may cause you to eat more than you would normally. The effects many not seem huge one less pretzel but over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up,Elder said.

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