Weight loss, arguably the biggest bugbear for much of the modern world. You could spend on fancy gyms, adopt trending diets, but sometimes all that effort doesn’t pay off. But a recent study might bring some joy to those aiming to lose the kilos, especially because it takes so little effort to start.

A Colorado State University study concludes that eating in a relatively noise-free environment and listening to each bite might actually be the difference between eating right and overeating. Researchers said eating crunchy food and listening to yourself chew, could make you full at an earlier point than otherwise. This is especially crucial for those with eating disorders who need to reduce weight to thwart obesity-related diseases. The study is being called the ‘The Crunch Effect’.

“Sound is typically labelled as the forgotten food sense. But if people are more focused on the sound food makes, it could reduce consumption,” Dr. Ryan Elder, a co-author of the study, is quoted as saying in Fox News.

Of course, that doesn’t mean everything is fair game – you still have to pick and choose what you eat and a crunchy deep-fried donut might make the right sounds, but you may find it harder to resist a second helping.

The study experimented with two groups of participants – one listened to loud music through headphones and the other to quieter music. Both groups were given pretzels to eat and the ones listening to the louder music ended up eating more than the other group. The loud music disguised the sounds of mastication or chewing. Another experiment found that even by simply imagining chewing noises, subjects would consume less.

“Our research highlights the importance of intrinsic auditory food cues on consumption. Our findings are valuable to both researchers interested in understanding how sensory cues are connected to consumption and marketers utilizing sound in their communications to consumers,” paper in Science Direct said.

It’s not about immediate gains. This ‘crunch effect’ will only have a major impact in the long run, when practitioners have become ultra-conscious of the eating process. “Over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up,” one researcher said. With that much time, even those who can’t stand chewing noises when eating, can get used to that sound.

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