Washington: It's not just the size and colour of your plate that can influence how much you eat, the sounds of eating can help too.
Researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado State University have found that the noise your food makes while you're eating can have a significant effect on how much food you eat.
The "Crunch Effect," as they call it, suggests you're likely to eat less if you're more conscious of the sound your food makes while you're eating. Therefore, watching loud TV or listening to loud music while eating can mask eating sounds that keep you in check.
"For the most part, consumers and researchers have overlooked food sound as an important sensory cue in the eating experience," said coauthor Gina Mohr.
Researcher Ryan Elder added that 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.
To be clear, the researchers are not talking about the sizzle of bacon, the crack of creme brulee or popcorn popping. The effect comes from the sound of mastication: chewing, chomping and crunching.
Elder and Mohr carried out three separate experiments on the effect of that "food sound salience" and found even suggesting people think of eating sounds (through an advertisement) can decrease consumption.
Elder and Mohr said the main takeaway for people should be the idea of mindfulness. In other words, being more mindful of not just the taste and physical appearance of food, but also of the sound it makes can help in "nudge" consumers to eat less.
The study is published in the journal Food Quality and Preference....