How To Lose Weight: Having Dinner In Silence Could Stop You Overeating, Study Finds

Listen to the crunch.

How many distractions are you surrounded by when you eat a meal?

If you watch TV or listen to music while eating then you might be more likely to consume more - and therefore put on weight.

Researchers have found that people who eat in silence actually eat less than those who consume food while surrounded by noise.

Dubbed the "Crunch Effect", listening to chewing, chomping and crunching makes you more mindful of what you're eating and can have a significant effect on how much food you eat, they said.

All you have to do is listen.
JGI/Tom Grill via Getty Images
All you have to do is listen.

Researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado State University said the "Crunch Effect" makes you eat less if you're more conscious of the sound your food makes while you eat.

They noted that watching TV or listening to music while you eat could prevent you from hearing those sounds.

Gina Mohr, an assistant professor of marketing at CSU and co-author of the study, said: "For the most part, consumers and researchers have overlooked food sound as an important sensory cue in the eating experience."

Ryan Elder, assistant professor of marketing at BYU's Marriott School of Management, added: "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."

Elder and Mohr conducted three separate experiments on the effect of "food sound salience".

One of the experiments found people eat less when the sound of food is more intense.

Participants wore headphones playing either loud or quiet noise while they ate snacks.

Those listening to louder noise, which masked the sound of chewing, ate more than the group eating quietly. On average, they consumed four pretzels compared to 2.75 pretzels.

Ryan Elder said: "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."

Researchers have suggested people should be more mindful when eating. Not only in terms of taste and appearance of food, but also in terms of the sound it makes.

The study was published in the academic journal 'Food Quality and Preference'.

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