A study revealing new links between food and psychology may be changing the way we eat.
In one study, yogurt was eaten with plastic spoons of varying weights. Participants were asked to rate the yogurt based on sweetness, density, and estimated price. The resulting data showed that the yogurt eaten on lighter spoons was perceived as sweeter and denser than that eaten with heavier spoons. Participants found the experience of eating with the lighter spoon more enjoyable overall.
A second experiment tested 30 participants’ experience of cheese. Of the same cheese eaten with a toothpick, knife, fork, and spoon, the cheese tasted saltiest when served on a knife.
The findings of this study could have a strong impact on the advancing fields of health and diet. Researchers suggest that the next step in nutrition initiatives could involve altering cutlery to change the perception of food to make it taste saltier or sweeter without increasing these levels.
Simply by changing the color of a mug or the material of a fork, consumers could experience “unhealthy” tastes, while decreasing their intake of harmful sodium and sugars.