Have you ever been in a cramped restaurant; watched someone eat on television; or sat across from a friend during a meal and been terribly annoyed by the sound of chewing? If so, don’t worry – this doesn’t make you a terrible person. Neither does getting bothered by the sound of your own food chewing.
According to new study conducted by members of Brigham Young University and Colorado State University (and published in the Food Quality and Preference journal), hearing yourself eat significantly impacts how much food you devour. This, says researchers, is called the ‘Crunch Effect.’
To reach their conclusions, researchers put participants through a series of three separate experiments. For one of them, eaters wore headphones that blasted loud noises into their ears. Soon, it was determined that those who ate during this exercise, consumed more food than those who wore headphones that passed quieter noises. Those dealing with loud noises ate four pretzels, while those given quieter noises ate 2.75 pretzels.
Another interesting discovery was that participants subjected to commercials in which people were eating, also ate less.
“The effects may not seem huge – one fewer pretzel – but over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up,” commented the study’s co-author, Ryan Elder.
As for recommendations, those behind the study suggest that people should be more cognizant of the food they’re eating, as well as how it sounds.
Continued Elder: “Sound is typically labelled as the forgotten food sense. But if people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption.”
Conversely, if weight loss or improving eating habits is the name of your game perhaps it’s time to turn down the television, or music, during snack time and test this theory for yourself.