By: Alicia Ma
Smelling the scent of fresh bread from a bakery, hearing the crunch of a ripe red apple, seeing your best friend take a bite out of a chocolate cake, drinking a warm bowl of soup, or touching a raw fish.
These are examples of using your senses recognizing these moments as indicators to eat or not. The human body uses mainly the five senses to eat; the sense of smell, hearing, sight, touch and taste. Could you live a day without any of your senses? Have you considered how your senses affect your appetite or a feeling of fullness?
van Ittersum, K. (2011). Plate size photograph. Licensed under Scheller News on
We use our sight to check the color, size and shape. By appearance, the individual may be incline to eat by the sight of the meal. For example, if a meal is green then we may perceive it as healthy, fresh and good for you because we relate green to green leafy vegetables (Neff 2017). If a meal is a red then we may perceive it as spicy.
By looking at the size of the meal or plate, we may discern ourselves as eating more or less. With the image above, both of these plates have the same portion, but one plate's portion appears bigger than the other plate. We are incline to eat more with bigger plates because our perception of our meal is small. Compared to other countries, the United States is known for its bigger portions, and US Americans overeat because our portions are more than what we need.
If we remove sight from the individual, then they will have to rely on their other senses. According to Renner, Sproesser, Stok, and Schupp (2016) by removing one's sight with blindfold, their intake is less than what they perceive they consumed, but the sense of satiety is nearly the same as someone who sees what they are eating.
2. Smell and Taste.
The tongue can distinguish the tastes of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. The sense of taste is innate or conditioned from birth to differentiate the foods we like and do not like. With the sense of smell or taste alone does note affect the appetite or satiety (Yin, Hewson, Linforth, Taylor and Fisk, 2017). Flavor is a key factor appetite and satiety. The perception of flavor is mainly driven by the sense of smell and taste (Auvray and Spence, 2008, Wallace, 2015 as cited in Yin, et al., 2017). For example, pasta marinara has a tangy smell from the sauce, the savory taste from the meat, the earthy smell from the herbs and the saltiness from the cheese. With the combination of smells and taste, flavor is enhanced.
Dietetic Association of Australia and The Speech Pathology Association of Australia. (2007). Texture modified foods photograph. Licensed under Mealtime Support Resource on Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in Queensland Government
3. Touch and Sound
After eating, the body will rise or decrease in temperature in respect to the food eaten. The body's temperature can be affected by sight of the food in color that warm colors will make us feel warmer while cooler colors will make us colder. Other than color, the palatability of the color to the food, and customers' impression affects satiety and hunger (Suzuki, Kimura, Kido, Inoue, Moritani and Nagai, 2017).
Hearing the sounds of what you are eating is a contributor of hunger and satiety. The sounds of chewing is typically associated with texture and the perception of food texture, especially the perception of crispness and crunchiness (Duizer, 2001, Saeleaw and Schleining, 2011, Spence, 2015, Vickers, 1982, Vickers, 1985; C. Wilkinson et al., 2000, Zampini and Spence, 2010 as cited in Endo, Ino, Fujisaki, 2017). A lack of sound from softer foods such as pureed had negative impact on appetite. People were less likely to enjoy the pureed foods because it lacked the sound of crunchiness and texture.
Dietitians Association of Australia and The Speech Pathology Association of Australia, 2007. ‘Texture
modified foods and thickened fluids as used for individuals with dysphagia: Australia
standardized labels and definitions’, Nutrition and Dietetics, 64 (Suppl. 2), pp. S53 – S76.
Endo, Ino, & Fujisaki. (2017). Texture-dependent effects of pseudo-chewing sound on perceived food
texture and evoked feelings in response to nursing care foods. Appetite, 116, 493-501.
Neff, M. (2017). Eating with all five senses: sight. Michigan State University Extension. Retrieved
Renner, Sproesser, Stok, & Schupp. (2016). Eating in the dark: A dissociation between perceived and
actual food consumption. Food Quality and Preference, 50(C), 145-151.
Suzuki, Kimura, Kido, Inoue, Moritani, & Nagai. (2017). Color of hot soup modulates postprandial
satiety, thermal sensation, and body temperature in young women. Appetite, 114, 209-216.
van Ittersum, K. (2011). Plate size [Photograph]. Retrieved from
Yin, Hewson, Linforth, Taylor, & Fisk. (2017). Effects of aroma and taste, independently or in
combination, on appetite sensation and subsequent food intake. Appetite, 114, 265-274.
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