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March 28, 2015

Study: Sound of food affects flavor

Most everyone loves bacon. However, do you know why?

Certainly, it's easy to assume that the way it tastes is why you crave it. However, a new study from Oxford University suggests that the sound of our teeth crunching through a crispy piece may have something to do with our enjoyment as well.

The study, entitled "Eating with our ears," assesses auditory reasons for our enjoyment of food and drink. The authors cite new research that shows the way food sounds when we eat it and when it's prepared may affect our experience. 

Take again, for example, bacon. Referring to a 2007 study from the University of Leeds, the study quotes Dr. Graham Clayton, who suggests the crisp can be as important as the taste:

"We often think it’s the taste and smell of bacon that consumers find most attractive. But our research proves that texture and the crunching sound is just – if not more – important"

The effects of sound and our appetite are not limited to crunch, either. The fizzy noise from a soft drink and the sounds our mouths make after intaking something creamy give our brain cues on how we perceive the sense of taste. Those sounds become integral parts of our memories of some foods, and in turn, influence the way our brains prepare to eat them when we "hear" them. Sound, the researchers conclude, cannot be fully separated from taste:

... what we hear while eating plays an important role in our perception of the textural properties of food, not to mention our overall enjoyment of the multisensory experience of food and drink.

So no, you're not crazy for wanting to wake up to the sound of bacon:

Read the full study here.