Loud Music May Steer You Toward Unhealthy Food

The link between sound and hunger may appear tenuous, but researchers in Stockholm, Sweden, led by and led by Dipayan Biswas of the University Of South Florida Muma College Of Business in the U.S., have made a surprising find. Cosmos reports that in the study, researchers piped songs by Ed Sheeran, Van Morrison, Janet Jackson, and The Scorpions into a cafe and supermarket over several days, "played either at 50 decibels (roughly the noise level of a quiet conversation) or 70 decibels (about as noisy as a vacuum cleaner)." They then tracked people's food choices accordingly, either as "healthy" (salad or yogurt) or "unhealthy" (burgers and cookies).

The results pointed to a connection between loud music and unhealthier food options: "Exposed to the 50-decibel soundtrack, 32 percent of customer choices were classified as healthy, compared to 25 percent for people who made selections while the music was blaring." It kind of makes sense? I mean, we can't imagine downing a huge plate of nachos at an Ed Sheeran concert (that is, if we could even imagine going to an Ed Sheeran concert). And delicately snacking on hummus while rocking out to The Scorpions or Led Zeppelin or something also seems incongruous. In the resulting paper in the Journal Of The Academy Of Marketing Science, "the researchers suggest the difference arises because quiet music induces relaxation, while louder sound prompts feelings of excitement, and these two states condition food choices." Should those looking to eat healthier turn down the volume? Certainly couldn't hurt.