Listen Up, Eat Less

Do you watch TV while you’re eating dinner? Ever listen to your favorite music or podcast while you’re having a bite to eat? Or have you ever polished off a bucket of popcorn and snacks during an action movie?

It happens, and there’s at one thing every one of these scenarios have in common. Noise. A new study published in the journal Food Quality found that eating in an environment with a lot of noise, especially the digital kind, can actually cause you to eat more.

Researchers conducted a series of tests to see if being “plugged in” while eating had any impact on the amount of food people consumed. And it did. People who ate while wearing headphones and listening to music or a podcast ate about 45 percent more pretzels than those who munched and crunched without music.

So maybe your mom was on to something when she said, “No TV at the dinner table.” Researchers believe being able to hear the munch-munch, crunch-crunch sounds of your food while eating provides sensory information to your brain that can help control appetite.

If you’re trying to eat healthier, “unplugging” while you eat is a simple strategy you can use to practice portion control. And if you’re serious about improving your diet, drink more water and stick to eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy products, and legumes.

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