Listen closely, weight watchers: if you want to eat less, consult your ears.

Hearing is apparently the forgotten food sense. New research suggests that the ability to hear ourselves chewing our food is an important cue that lets us know when we’re full.

Calling it “The Crunch Effect,” researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado State University discovered a link between our ears and stomachs by conducting an unusual experiment with 71 college students.

They fed them a crunchy snack — pretzels — and asked them to wear headphones. One group listened to loud white noise while they munched. The other group was exposed to quieter noise.

Who ate more? The ones listening to the loud noise. They scarfed down four pretzels versus the quiet eaters’ 2.75 pretzels, according to the study published in the journal, Food Quality and Preference.

The results suggest that the sound of chewing helps us gauge how much we’ve consumed. Other loud sounds may interfere with our ability to detect such cues — worth noting by those who watch TV or listen to music through earbuds while dining.

“Our research highlights the importance of intrinsic auditory food cues on consumption,” the study authors wrote. Their findings also lend support to the notion that mindful eating practices have an impact on how much we consume.


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