When you’re trying to lose weight, portion control and overindulging at meal time can feel like a constant battle. It’s just that…well, food tastes so good and you can’t help but give in to extra helpings. We definitely aren’t here to make you feel ashamed, but we understand how it can lead to dieting frustrations. But a new study has revealed a simple trick that can nip that in the bud.
According to research published in the Journal of Consumer Research, it’s all about whether we’re sitting or standing as we chow down. A press release for the study claims lead author Dipayan Biswas, PhD, found that if you stand up for even just a few minutes while eating, your body essentially turns your taste buds off.
Or, in fancy scientific terms: “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.”
The method for coming to this conclusion is pretty darn convincing. The researchers had 350 participants split into two groups (sitting vs. standing). They gave them all the same freshly baked bite-sized brownies. Unsurprisingly, both groups rated the brownies as “pleasant tasting.” However, when they tweaked the recipe for the brownies to include an extra 1/4 cup of salt, only those who were sitting down could tell there was any difference.
Although this might sound like a recipe for eating way too many sub-par brownie bites, it can actually be helpful when you’re savoring the flavor of a meal you actually like — but want to slow yourself down. This technique can help shut off those taste buds and keep you from eating a larger portion.
Obviously, we aren’t expecting anyone to stand up every time they eat a meal, but it might be helpful to try every now and then. On the flip (and more realistic) side: This gives credence to all those times you told your kids to “sit down and enjoy your meal” and is a good case for doing just that with your family now. The food will taste its best while you bond!
This story originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.