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Why the Rolling Stones May Be To Blame for Unhealthy Eating

Are you back out there?

Last Tuesday marked the first day where restaurant dining activity EXCEEDED pre-pandemic levels...this according to's CEO Debby Soo.  Clearly, people are getting more comfortable venturing back out to their favorite restaurants.

As you head back out to meet up with family and friends, stop for a second and notice the music.  Yes, you might be surprised how music can affect your food choices!


Picture it...'re in a restaurant, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is rockin' in the background, and you're looking over the menu deciding what to order.

Suddenly, you're craving a juicy BBQ bacon cheeseburger, fries and a cold beer.  You try to focus on the salads, but no deal, your burger craving is taking over...


Would you believe the music you are hearing is likely affecting your food choices?

Several studies found that "when music in a restaurant is louder, diners are more prone to ordering unhealthy foods."  There have been various theories and studies on this over the years, including a recent study that was done in a cafe in Stockholm, Sweden, where music was played at 55 and 70 decibels at different times.

They found that more customers ordered unhealthy items when the music was louder compared to those who dined during lower volume times.


Believe it or not, sound can have a profound effect on your food choices and your dining experience.

We were discussing this while sitting at a restaurant bar, enjoying some food and drinks, when the bartender chimes in and says, “that’s true…when our owner comes in, he cranks up the music and says people order more when the music is louder.”


Imagine the flip side...'re dining in a casual Italian restaurant and there's a faint sound of smooth jazz playing.  Suddenly, you're in the mood for a glass of wine, and are looking forward to a relaxing dinner comprised of a Hummus and veggies appetizer, fresh farmers’ market salad and a wood-fired Margherita pizza.

Amazing how your food choices and experience can be so different just based on the atmosphere and the music!




Why would background music have such a powerful effect on us?

One study said that "in essence, louder music tends to make people more excited -- and higher levels of excitement (and stress) tend to enhance preference for high energy and high fat foods."  We don't even realize it, but loud music unconsciously increases our level of stimulation and stress, which leads us to crave that burger and fries!  Whereas, calming music tends to make us relaxed and more mindful.

Louder music can also cause our willpower and self-control to break down.

Have you ever been at an event (maybe a wedding reception) where there are bowls of unhealthy snacks and candy on the tables?  No matter how hard you try, it's almost impossible to resist grabbing a handful, and then another.  This is another example of how our environment has such a profound affect on our food choices!


So, what can we do?

Of course, you are in control when eating at home.  When dining out, our experiences can vary widely depending on the type of restaurant and food, the occasion, our mood, and the people we are with (such as friends, co-workers, or family).  And, it's NOT realistic to think we can always control our environment, but half the battle is being aware of it!  Once you acknowledge it, there are a few things you can do:

  • Relax and focus on mindful eating – ask yourself whether you truly want that burger and fries, or if your mind is playing tricks on you and you'll be more satisfied at the end of the meal if you make a different choice.  If you absolutely can’t resist the craving, consider splitting it with someone else.  Chances are, a few bites will satisfy your craving.
  • Use our eating out tips to navigate and make the best choices when you enjoy meals away from home.
  • Recognize how stress can affect your eating habits, and use these ideas to stop stress in its tracks (or at least reduce it as much as possible)!
  • Set the mood at home.  Consider how your home environment is affecting your food choices and eating habits.  Experiment with different “atmospheres” and music to create the best healthy environment.


We want you to enjoy your meals both at home and away from home, and we also want to always help make your experiences healthy ones!


Have you noticed how music or other factors affect your cravings and choices when dining out?

Please share your stories!


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4 Responses to Why the Rolling Stones May Be To Blame for Unhealthy Eating

  1. That’s incredible–I never knew that! When dining with friends, Ken has actually gone and asked if the music could be turned down so we could have a conversation without shouting. They have seemed reluctant to do that so maybe that’s why–they want to sell more food.

    • Interesting, isn’t it?! This is the beauty of cooking at home…more enjoyable and since we know the way you both roll, I can definitely say, it will taste a million times better!

  2. Interesting! There’s a certain restaurant that my husband and I avoid eating at because of its loud music/noise/impromptu dancing by the wait staff. We call it “school lunchroom place”. I always say that if I wanted to eat in a school lunchroom and put up with all the noise, I’d eat in the school lunchroom! (I’m a teacher. I did not eat even one meal in the school lunchroom this past year.) However, this particular restaurant mentioned above ALWAYS has people waiting outside to get in and eat there. Go figure!

    • Go figure is right! Good grief, that doesn’t sound super relaxing (and I bet many of us can guess the restaurant)! I know you could make a better meal at home that is more enjoyable, more affordable and probably tastes WAY better!

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