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Finger-licking Experience: Eating with Hands Makes Food Taste Good

Finger-licking Experience: Eating with Hands Makes Food Taste Good

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  • Most Indians love eating food with hands
  • Eating with hands makes food taste yummy, enjoyable and more satisfying
  • It would be best if you are little mindful, as this finger-licking experience could make you eat more and add extra pounds to your body weight

Eating with your hands makes food taste better, enjoyable, and more satisfying. However, this finger-licking experience could make you eat more. The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Retailing.

Why people eat rice with hands in most parts of India? Because directly touching the food makes experience of eating more enjoyable, say researchers.


The study revealed that when high self-control individuals touch food directly with their hands, compared to when they use cutlery, they not only find what they eat -- tastier and more satisfying -- but also eat more.

"Our results suggest that for people who regularly control their food consumption, direct touch triggers an enhanced sensory response, making food more desirable and appealing," said study researcher Adriana Madzharov from Stevens Institute of Technology in the US.

Study - I

In her first experiment, Madzharov had 45 undergraduate students visually inspect and evaluate a cube of Muenster cheese, hold it before eating it and then asked them to answer questions about their eating behavior.

Half of the participants used a pick and sampled a cheese cube with an appetizer while the other half sampled a cheese cube without pick.

Initially, the two groups did not indicate any difference.

The research team found that participants who reported a high degree of self-control when consuming food -- individuals who report that they can resist tasty foods and are conscious about what and how much they eat -- when using their hands found the cheese tastier and more appetizing.

Even when Madzharov manipulated participants' thinking on self-control, goals and food consumption, these findings persisted, suggesting that a high degree of self-control influences how people experience food when they touch it directly with their hands -- to show whether self-control is real or primed.

Study - II

In the second experiment, the researchers separated a new set of 145 undergraduate students into two groups.

The first group was told to imagine that they have decided to be more careful with their diet and cut back on excessive eating in order to achieve their long-term objective of being fit and healthy.

The second, that they had decided to worry less about their weight all the time and allow themselves to indulge in tasty foods more often in order to enjoy life and experience its pleasures.

All participants were given a plastic cup with four mini donuts inside it -- only half of them were allowed to use their hands, while rest used picks.

As in the first experiment, the participants were then asked to visually inspect and evaluate the mini donuts on hedonistic qualities such as texture, freshness, quality and nutrition.

The researcher also instructed them to report their level of focus and attention when eating the mini donuts to get a measure of mindfulness and sensory experience.

The study found that when participants were primed with self-control (vs. indulgent) thinking, they evaluated the sampled food more positively than when they touched it directly with their hands.

It also suggests that the mechanism driving this effect was the enhanced sensory experience that participants reported in the direct touch or self-control condition.

Reference :
  1. Self-Control and Touch: When Does Direct Versus Indirect Touch Increase Hedonic Evaluations and Consumption of Food - (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretai.2019.10.009)

Source: IANS

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