“Mouthfeel” Affects Calorie Assumptions
It’s true of ice cream and rice cakes, but people tend to generalize such associations of “mouthfeel” and calories to all foods: Soft and creamy foods that melt in your mouth have more calories than foods that are crunchy and rough—or so we assume, according to a new study. Researchers reported the results of five laboratory studies in the Journal of Consumer Research, comparing, for example, how many calories subjects estimated were in hard versus soft brownies. Foods that were hard, crunchy or had a rough texture were generally rated as lower in calories than choices that were smooth and required less chewing. Surprisingly, participants overestimated calorie counts of all the foods, but guesses for soft and creamy foods were even further inflated.