Or at least it smells like chicken. A study in the latest issue of Flavour indicates that when foods have stronger aromas people take smaller bites. The thought is that the strong scent signals our brain that the food we are about to consume is rich and high in calories and we should tread lightly. Not sure if my genes have developed this signal as I tend to eat beyond fullness if nice aromas are wafting through the air. Maybe I am just abnormal.
The idea that bite size can be influenced by smell is an interesting one and has intriguing possibilities. Perhaps a new weight loss tool as Scientific American suggests. A common line of thinking is that the better a food smells, the more we will eat. Overall I believe this to be true, if not for the direct nature of the scent, then for the comfort the scents bring thus keeping us at the table longer. And we all know what happens when we stay at the table longer than we should.
Bite size is interesting and influenced by many factors. If we could truly reduce our bite sizes AND reduce the number of bites we take then we’d be in good shape. However, if we are simply reducing bite size and compensating by taking more bites, then we have gained nothing. Here’s some interesting info on bite size from the aforementioned study:
“Smaller bite sizes are known to elicit weaker food sensations, lower flavor release, and more satiation. Furthermore, bite sizes tend to be smaller for unfamiliar foods and foods that are liked less. Finally, bite sizes become smaller as the consumer becomes satiated. These results suggest that bite size is actively regulated during eating in response to sensory and/or digestive factor.”
In re-reading that quote, we are led to believe that smaller bite sizes, while eliciting weaker food sensations, induces more satiation. A fancy word for satisfied. Full. Not sure if I have been satiated. If we could truly listen to our bodies when they are full, and if the are becoming perceptually more full when we eat smaller bites, then it is time to get smaller spoons and forks. Research has shown it is difficult to change our bite size if we are actively aware of the change. However, if we switch out our utensils and there are no other options, soon you will forget about your oversize cereal eating spoons, and possibly down-regulate your consumption through the use of a smaller one.
This morning I will eat my cereal with a baby spoon. So glad there is a 6 week old in the house.