Does it matter whether you are sitting or standing while eating? A new study says, ‘Yes’. It matters in two important ways.
According to the study, published in the journal of Consumer Research, eating while standing not only prompts physical stress, but also mutes taste buds. Hence, you may not be able to savour the food as much as you would, when eating while sitting down.
The researchers examined the interaction between the vestibular and gustatory sensory systems. The first one is driven by balance, posture and spatial orientation, while the second by taste and flavour.
It was found that in the standing position, blood is pushed down to the lower parts of the body by gravitational forces. In the process heart rate gets accelerated as the heart works harder to pump blood back up to the upper body. In turn, the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis gets activated, leading to increased activity of the stress hormone cortisol
As a result of this chain reaction, sensitivity (in the tongue) reduces, impacting the ability to evaluate the taste, say the researchers.
The study examined 350 participants’ reports on the tastiness of a pita chip. It was found those who were standing rated it lower compared to those, sitting in a padded chair.
Additionally, it was found that more stress factors while eating, worse the taste. For instance, when participants were asked to have fruit snacks while carrying a shopping bag, participants found the taste even worse.
No wonder we find the food tasteless when in stress.