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Can Music Make Mindful Eating Easier?

What if something as simple as playing music could help you eat slower and prompt a shift in eating behavior that could help you eat more mindfully?

In this piece, we discuss a recent research review from our friends at Precision Nutrition and how we might utilize these findings for potential health benefit.

What is ‘mindful eating’?

The concept of ‘mindful eating’ relates to paying greater attention to how we eat and typically involves:

  • eating slowly

  • eating to 80% fullness.

Eating in this manner tends to bring about two main benefits:

  1. We enjoy our food more

    By being ‘present’, we tend to enjoy the taste, texture and nourishment of our food more.

  2. We eat less

    It takes around 20 minutes for the brains to receive a signal from the body that it is full, so slower eating creates more time to receive the signal that we’ve eaten our fill.

Can music affect speed of eating?

During the research study [1], 355 participants ate chocolate while wearing noise-cancelling headphones and were asked to rate the chocolate for taste, creaminess and crunchiness. The participants were played segments of fast music, slow music and no music at all. Using a timer, the researchers tracked the participants’ eating times during different segments of music.

The study revealed some fascinating findings about the effect of music on eating speeds:

  • People who ate in silence ate at the fastest pace.

  • People ate significantly slower when listening to music with a fast tempo (145 beats per minute) than when eating in silence.

  • People ate the slowest when they listened to music with a slow tempo (45 beats per minute).

The findings appear to confirm that music can be utilised to help promote healthier eating habits.

Suggestions for mindful eating

So, stepping back a little, here’s our 3 key pointers on you to incorporate mindful eating into a healthier behavioural lifestyle:

1. How we feel when we eat matters

Woman sitting in the ground in the nature and smiling while eating food from the small pot
"You guys go on ahead. I'll catch up with you later."

Take steps to feel more relaxed while eating, especially if you’re working to lose weight or shift body composition. You’ll get more enjoyment from food and have more success with your body goals.

2. Identify and monitor your eating habits

Three women drinking wine while there is food on the table in front of them
"You guys go on ahead. I'll catch up with you later."

Environment plays a huge role in our eating behaviours so try to tune in to what’s going on around you when you’re eating.

For example:

– Who do you eat with?
– How fast do they eat?
– How healthy are their food choices?
– Do they tend to order more than they need?

The tendency, of course, is for people to follow the group behaviour regardless of its health implications. By being mindful about our eating, we can take steps to promote healthier eating choices.

3. Music might not be for everyone, but give it a go

Headphones on the yellow background
"You guys go on ahead. I'll catch up with you later."

The study implies music may affect your eating speed, so why not experiment with it and see what works for you.

Tonight, try doing the opposite of what you normally do and observe what happens.

Try a few different kinds of music and leave us a comment below to let us know if you felt any impact on your eating.

Bon appetite!



1. Mathiesen SL, Mielby LA, Byrne DV, Wang QJ. Music to eat by: A systematic investigation of the relative importance of tempo and articulation on eating time. Appetite. 2020 Dec 1;155:104801.