Shrink Your Gut with Gas­tro­physics

How one meal can change ev­ery­thing you think you know about eat­ing – and overeat­ing

Men's Health (Malaysia) - - Health -

SO YOU’RE SIT­TING IN A BOOTH

at a fast-food chicken joint. Maybe you’re there be­cause of a funny com­mer­cial you saw on TV, or a nos­tal­gia-in­duced crav­ing, or it’s con­ve­nient and you’re starv­ing. You un­wrap the crinkly pa­per to un­veil a squishy bun hug­ging a warm breast of fried chicken. Siz­zling from the kitchen punc­tures the Top 40 mu­sic play­ing above. The aroma of crisped fat in­ten­si­fies. You take a bite.

Hmmm. It tastes, well, kind of sucky. It’s not nearly as juicy as the ad made it look or as de­li­cious as the ones you re­mem­ber. Yet you eat, and maybe eat more of it than you should, as if com­pelled by out­side forces.

The truth is, those forces – from the tex­ture of the wrap­ping and the light­ness of the bun to the tooloud pop mu­sic – are in­ten­tional. Sci­en­tists have long known that much of what you “taste” when you’re eat­ing isn’t about your palate. A new branch of re­search is prov­ing the as­sump­tion that all of your senses are at play when you eat.

To ex­pe­ri­ence these find­ings first­hand, I paid a visit to Charles Spence, Ph.D., di­rec­tor of the Univer­sity of Ox­ford’s Cross­modal Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory in Lon­don. Spence, an ap­ple-faced man with a pen­chant for brightly coloured pants, has pop­u­larised the term “gas­tro­physics” to re­fer to the science be­hind brain-belly com­mu­ni­ca­tion.•

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