By Ali Eaves
Butter, sugar, and salt make everything taste great. But new research uncovers another way to amp up dinner—without any extra calories.
Eating with another person may make food taste better, finds a new study from Yale University.
People who ate chocolate with a partner thought the candy was more flavorful than those who tasted it in the presence of someone who was looking at a book, the study found.
Researchers say sharing an experience, like a meal, makes it more intense. It might be because people have a tendency to zero in on what others are paying attention to, says study author Erica Boothby. If your buddy is digging into his steak, you’ll focus on the beef on your plate. But if you’re eating while your friend is scrolling away on his iPhone, your mind is more likely to wander.
Bonus: Tuning in to your food may help you feel satisfied and prevent overeating, suggests a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Related: 57 Stealthy Ways To Eat Better
So if you want to make your next meal even more delicious—without overindulging—share it with a friend and put away the distractions, Boothby says.
Just be careful who you eat with: Other studies show that dining with buddies who eat too fast or too much may encourage you to do the same.