Do you turn on the TV at dinner time? Or when you’re munching alone at a café, do you plug into your newest playlist? Well, it turns out that all that noise may be causing you to miss out on auditory stimulus while eating. As a result, you may end up eating more than you realize.
People often praise the display and taste of food. But when is the last time you heard someone approve of the way it sounded? It turns out that the sounds food makes while you are eating it is an important sensory stimuli. If you hate the sound of chewing and crunching, this new discovery will make you cringe. But don’t worry, you don’t have to listen to other people eating.
Researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado State University call it the “Crunch Effect.” If you are able to consciously hear the noises your food is making while you eat, you will most likely eat less. This is because the auditory stimulus of chewing, swallowing, and sipping force you to be mindful about your eating habits.
So not only is the TV making you miss out on entertaining conversation, it could also be allowing you to eat more than you need to. Any loud or overwhelming distraction makes you less mindful about what you are doing, so it makes sense that it would also make you less mindful about how much you’re eating. Try turning off the TV, or playlist, for your next meal and test the difference for yourself!
But don’t just turn of the TV at mealtime. If your goal is to eat less, there are plenty of other ways to change your eating habits. And just like consciously listening to the auditory stimulus of eating, all that is required is mindfulness.