Turn off the telly, mute the radio and stop your best friend from gossiping – because, according to new research, listening to yourself chew is the key to shedding pounds. Yes, really.
Psychologists in the US have found people consume less food when they can hear themselves eating. The effect is said to be so powerful that even telling someone they are eating a crunchy snack can make them eat less.
Perfect news for those of us who disgust our friends and family with our loud eating sounds. Less good for those with misophonia – a phobia that means they can’t stand the sound of chewing.
Experiments show the reason why we eat less when we can hear munching is because the more we concentrate on the noises surrounding our meal, the more flavour we can taste.
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In one experiment the researchers, at Colorado State University, asked 71 students to eat a bowl of pretzels, with half listening to white noise through headphones so they couldn’t hear the sound of their own chewing. That group ate four pretzels each, on average.
The other half, who could hear themselves, took just 2.8 each.
In another study 156 students sat down in a room with eight baked crackers made from pitta bread – one group read a piece of paper that said “our pitta crackers deliver the crunch you crave. You’ll love the crispy sound of each bite.” They then ate an average of one fewer cracker than the other group who were told to concentrate on the taste.
Bring on the crisps!