Eating cold food could push us to eat more

·1-min read
Our perception of calorie content can be distorted by the temperature of a dish.

The temperature of a dish, warm or cold, can alter our perception of its calorie content and can lead us to eat more, according to a study coming out of Grenoble, France.

Our perception of calorie content can be distorted by the temperature of a dish. According to a study, our brain perceives a cold dish to be lighter in calories than a warm dish. The majority of people who choose a cold dish tend to consume more calories (+31%), fat (+37%) and carbohydrates (+22%).

But how can this unconscious decision made by our brain be explained? To answer this question, three researchers from Grenoble Ecole de Management conducted a survey of 2,600 French, American and Brazilian adults of all ages.

One of the study's authors, Amanda Pruski Yamim, offered a first element of explanation for this observation in a press release. "In most cultures, warm foods are considered filling and play an important role in the day's main meals. This perception comes from the fact that humans digest hot foods more easily and expect warm food to be tastier," she outlines.

And so for a tastier meal, we are willing to pay more. The study reports that survey participants would be willing to pay up to 25% more for a food item when it was served (or simply labeled) hot.

"These observations are essential for people with weight problems or suffering from obesity," says the researcher, who advises adding a warm food item to a cold dish to increase the feeling of satiety.

Louis Tardy