What's the best way to make your food enjoyable? Should you use better spices? Opt for the secret family recipe? Take a cooking course with a professional chef?

Sounds like a lot of work. If you're pressed for time, why not try a method that will take you just one second?

According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, your posture has an impact on how you perceive the taste of your food. More specifically, food tastes better when you're sitting down.

Researchers looked specifically at how the vestibular sense--which rules spatial orientation, balance, and posture--engages with the gustatory sensory system, which affects flavor and taste.

Results showed how when we have a standing posture for a few minutes, an increase of the stress hormone cortisol occurs, which mutes taste buds as a result. As the University of South Florida describes in a recent news release,

The force of gravity pushes blood to the lower parts of the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood back up to the top of the body, accelerating heart rate. This activates the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and leads to increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol. This chain reaction reduces sensory sensitivity, which impacts food and beverage taste evaluation, food temperature perception and overall consumption volume.

What does this mean for your eating habits? Foods that we normally love may not taste as good if we experience discomfort. Because standing up can bring about stress, if you want to make your food taste better, have a seat.

At the same time, if you want to eat less than seated eaters, or if you want to eat something that tastes unpleasant (like medicine), consider standing up. As lead study author Dipayan Biswas, Ph.D., marketing professor at the University of South Florida explains, "This finding suggests that parents might be able to make unpleasant-tasting, healthy foods seem more palatable to reluctant children by having them eat standing up (vs. sitting down)."

Published on: Jan 27, 2020
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