If you’re used to eating on the go or standing by the food-truck while scarfing down those tacos, you better take a seat, because we have some bad news for you. According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, your posture has a direct impact on food taste.
The lead author of the paper, Dipayan Biswas, Ph.D., studies how vestibular senses, i.e., your posture, balance, and orientation, interact with the gustatory system, which is responsible for taste and flavor. His findings? Your posture while standing causes stress, which in turn, dulls your taste buds.
Because your heart needs to work harder to pump blood to the top of the body while you’re standing, it activates the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. This, in turn, dulls the senses, directly contributing to less pleasure derived from food consumption.
Research participants consistently rated the same food as better-tasting when they were sitting down versus when standing. When unpleasant food was served (a brownie recipe with an extra 1/4 cup of salt), those who were standing gave same ratings as before, whereas those who were sitting while eating the brownie noticed the unpleasant taste and rated the brownie as unpleasant.
Biwas states, “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). In a similar vein, it might be beneficial to maintain a standing posture when consuming pharmaceutical products that have unpleasant tastes.”
This is also useful to know for someone trying to lose weight! If you’re looking to derive pleasure and feel satisfied, eat that brownie while sitting down. You’re more likely to notice whether it’s providing you with the satisfaction and less likely to overeat as a result.