Trying to Cut Out the Junk Food? Tune in to the “Crunch Effect”


Dieters have always used simple techniques to eat less without thinking about it, like eating off smaller plates and even opting for strong-smelling food.

Here’s a new way to trick yourself into eating less: Just tune in to the sound of your chewing.

People who hear themselves crunch and munch eat fewer snacks than people who eat while listening to music or watching TV, according to a new experiment conducted at Brigham Young University. And when people are distracted with background noise, they’ll eat less if the background noise is quiet than they will if the noise is loud.

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“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.”

Researchers call it the “Crunch Effect.” (Pudding, presumably, produces different results.)

“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.”

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