Comfort Cravings

How to soothe yourself without food—and how to eat healthfully and mindfully

1 Easy Way to Eat More Mindfully

How to Make Food Taste Better (Without Butter or Sugar)

A recent article in the journal Psychological Science gives us one secret to making food taste better. It isn’t a new spice or ingredient (I always add a dash of salt in chocolate chip cookies because it naturally enhances the flavor). It’s a behavioral shift: not multitasking while you eat.  Doing this is not as easy as it sounds. It's hard to put on the emotional brakes, slow down and do one thing at a time. The results of this study suggest why it maybe worth trying.  

In this study, researches gave participants a task. They were asked to either remember a 7-digit number or 1-digit. They did this while tasting either a salty, sweet, or sour substance and then rating the intensity of the flavor. Participants who had to remember more numbers while eating (a more difficult task or “cognitive load”) rated the flavors as less intense. They also ate more sweet and salty foods. 

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The conclusion? Mulititasking = reducing the taste of food. Why? Your brain has to process everything at once and the different sensory experiences compete with each other. It's likely that this just doesn't apply to taste. Whenever you juggle many things at once, your senses are pulled into many different directions (ex. imagine talking on your cell phone while walking on the beach at sunset).

In addition to boosting the taste, you have more power over how much you eat when you are present and in the moment.

The take away message: When you eat, just eat. 

 

Click Here: to See a Video of Dr. Albers Explaining a Mindful Eating Tip

Dr. Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and the author of 6 books on mindful eating.  She's been a guest on Dr. Oz and is frequently quoted in Shape and Prevention magazine.

*Leaving a Flat Taste in Your Mouth: Task Load Reduces Taste Perception by Reine C. van der Wal and Lotte F. van Dillen in Psychological Science

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a psychologist who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. 

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