It’s easy to overeat when we’re having dinner while watching TV or when we’re eating handfuls of popcorn in the movie theater. Both of these examples of overeating are also examples of mindless eating – when we just eat without even being hungry.  With this in mind, it makes sense to say that we would eat less if we were more aware and attuned to our hunger. Researchers from Brigham Young University and Colorado State University agreed with this and decided to test it out.


Come to find out, their results seem to prove that listening to ourselves chew, crunch, and swallow our food actually prevents us from overeating. How so? When we listen closely to the sounds of eating, we’re actually becoming more mindful or what we’re doing. The sound cues bring us into the moment of eating which reminds us why – because we’re hungry. So when we’re not hungry, focusing on sound cues, we realize we don’t need to eat anymore.


In one study, 182 undergraduate students participated. Some were instructed to eat a bowl of Famous Amos mini cookies as loud as they could, while others were ask to eat as quietly as they could. A third group was asked to eat as they normally would.


Then 71 students were given bowls of pretzels. Everyone wore headphones blasting white noise. Those who could still hear their chewing through the headphone volumes ate fewer than those who couldn’t hear chewing at all.


Another study had 156 students eat a bowl of Toll House Pita Chips. Before participating, researchers told some students descriptions about crispiness and crunchiness or descriptions about flavor and taste. Those who heard descriptions of crunchiness, paid more attention to the sounds of chewing, and ended up eating less than those who paid attention to flavor.


So there you have it, evidence that paying attention to chewing sounds makes more aware of what we’re actually swallowing; hence preventing us from overeating. The reasons why we don’t do it naturally – according to the students who participated in the study – it’s boring. Also, because our attention is pulled by all sorts of stimuli around us, especially when chewing is second nature. We have to consciously make an effort to be more mindful in everything we do.


If you struggle with overeating or would like to practice being more mindful, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get connected with a medical professional who can provide guidance based on your specific needs.