Nom Nom: Time to Stop Eating?Posted: May 11, 2016 in Healthy Eating by Craig Primack MD FACP
It’s long been known that smell is highly associated with hunger and eating habits. Get a wiff of a certain scent and it won’t be long before those hunger pangs role in. This is why some restaurants and theme parks will actually put food scents in the air vents, trying to persuade people to get hungry and purchase more food.
According to a recent study, it might not only be your smell that could trick your eating habits. Except in this case, the result may actually work in your favor—especially as you are working with a medical weight loss program. Researchers found that hearing the sounds of chewing and slurping as you eat can actually dissuade you from wanting to eat more. This is found to hold true even when it is your own chewing that you are hearing.
Mindful Eating and Food Awareness
Becoming more mindful of your food choices can help you develop healthier eating habits. There are a lot of strategies that are encouraged to improve mindful eating. These include:
- Keeping a food journal
- Only eating when seated at a table
- Keeping a log of water consumption
- Counting calories and reading food labels
When you adapt habits like these it becomes easier to make healthy food choices day after day, and transitioning your attitude towards food in this way is the best way to achieve long-term weight loss success. While this has long been understood, the knowledge that hearing yourself eat can actually interfere with your appetite provides a fun and simple trick that you may be able to add to this list of strategies.
The study was a simple one. Undergraduate students were given a bowl of pretzels and a pair of headphones. One group heard loud ambient sounds through the headphones, while the other group heard very quiet noises. The group with the loud ambient sounds could not hear themselves chewing, and so they ate freely. For the other group, however, the sound of chewing was amplified by the headphones with minimal noise coming through, and those participants were found to eat far fewer pretzels. Hearing themselves chew made the snack less appetizing.
So how can this help you? If you know that there is a time of day when you are a lot more prone to indulging in a snack, consider sticking in a pair of headphones without music. This may help curb your desire to eat as you hear yourself chewing.