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We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in front of the TV, watching your favorite show, and you start to get a little hungry. So you reach for a snack. But instead of really paying attention to what you’re eating, you just mindlessly munch away while your eyes remain glued to the screen.
You’re not alone. A lot of people eat this way. It’s no secret that we’re a nation of over-indulgers. We love our food, and we love to eat. In fact, a lot of us would say that we enjoy our food more when it’s accompanied by some good entertainment, like watching TV or a movie.
But did you know that doing so could actually be hindering your weight loss and fitness goals?
Researchers call it the Crunch Effect — they found that when people are focused on the sound their food makes, they tend to eat less than they would if they weren’t paying attention to the noise it makes.
“Sound is typically labeled as the forgotten food sense,” says Ryan Elder, Ph.D., an assistant professor of marketing at BYU’s Marriott School of Management. “But if people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption.”
“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,” Elder said. “The effects many not seem huge—one less pretzel—but over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up.”
So what does this mean for you?
- It means that paying attention to the sound your food makes may help you eat less overall.
- If you’re trying to watch your waistline, it might be a good idea to avoid watching TV or movies while you eat.
- Or if you can’t resist the temptation to have some entertainment while you eat, try turning the sound off so you can focus on your food.
Of course, this isn’t to say that sound is the only thing that matters when it comes to eating. There are plenty of other factors at play, like portion sizes and how active we are overall. But if you’re looking for an easy way to eat just a little bit less, focusing on the noise your food makes could be a good place to start.
Remember, weight loss and fitness are all about making small changes that add up over time. So if paying attention to the sound your food makes helps you eat just a little bit less, it could make a big difference in the long run.