US researchers have found that hearing the noise of food while you're eating can significantly affect how much you eat.
Dubbed the "Crunch Effect," being aware of the noise your food is making while you are eating it means you are more likely to eat less, found researchers from Brigham Young University and Colorado State University.
The effect isn't caused by noise made by food during the cooking process however, such as bacon sizzling in a pan, or even noises such as the crack of a creme brulee as you dive in before eating it, but specifically the noise caused by chewing food.
To reach their conclusion, researchers carried out three separate experiments and found that not only were people more likely to eat less when they heard the sound of food, but even an advertisement that included eating sounds was enough to have an effect.
The team also found in one of the studies that people eat less when the sound of the food is more intense. In the study, participants who wore headphones that played a loud noise while they ate snacks — which masked the sound of chewing — ate more than participants wearing headphones that played a quiet noise, consuming 4 pretzels compared to the "quiet group's" 2.75 pretzels.
Commenting on the results co-author Ryan 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."
From the results the team suggest being more mindful your food, not only how it tastes and looks, but also the sound of it, so switching off the TV or turning down loud music could help people to focus more on their food and eating, and in turn eat less.
"Sound is typically labeled as the forgotten food sense," added Elder, "But if people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption."
The study is published in the journal Food Quality and Preference.