Sit Down and Enjoy your Food!
It appears that what your mother told you is actually true – you taste your food more when you sit down to eat it. Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that how we enjoy and taste food is affected by whether we are sitting down or standing up.
Cited in Science Daily, Dr Dipayan Biswas, professor of Marketing at the University of South Florida attributes this to the increased physical stress that standing induces prompting release of cortisol which depresses taste perception, perception of food temperature and overall amount eaten. When people are even slightly uncomfortable, foods that normally taste good are not as good to eat. Biswas and his team confirmed this by asking 350 people to rate the pleasantness of pita chips: those who were standing gave lower ratings.
A further study looked at chocolate brownies. Those who were sitting again rated the brownies as nicer than those who were standing. But when tasting a recipe with increased salt concentration, the sitting group noticed the higher salt concentration more whereas those who were standing didn’t notice so much and rated the salty brownies as tastier than the sitting group. Biswas suggests that this finding may be useful in persuading children to try less palatable foods – ask them to stand up to do so.
An investigation with coffee showed that standing up led to less coffee being drunk than when sitting down. So, whilst the summer BBQ and festival season may require more eating on our feet, the upside is that we may eat less overall! The downside is, our food may not be so tasty.