Food Texture Determines Its Calorie Count — At Least In Our Heads, Study Finds

There's nothing like a brownie. You just bite right into it and it's like, boom, mouthfeel. Brownies — yum, brownies — can be chewy, gooey, cakey, or chunky, but they're generally dense. And guess what? A new study from that perpetual party-ruiner, science, suggests that's how you know it's packing caloric heat. #Downer!

The study, by a group of marketing and business researchers, suggests that we estimate how many calories are in a given food based on the way they feel in our mouth (also known as their mouthfeel or oral haptics). So we can tell carrots and celery are child's play while we know that cheesecake is stickin' around for the after-party. (Wait, was that way too much?).

When foods are soft rather than hard, or smooth rather than rough, we want to eat more of them, because we are programmed to like the way fat tastes. But the study suggests we also know what we're doing when we consume these high-calorie foods.

When study participants were asked to focus on the calorie content of the food they were eating, they ate more hard than soft brownies. When they weren't, they ate more soft than hard brownies.

(Probably because soft brownies are both more delicious and more caloric than soft ones._

The results of the study may have implications for food producers, the authors wrote.

Understanding how the texture of food can influence calorie perceptions, food choice, and consumption amount can help nudge consumers towards making healthier choices.

First person to develop a healthy brownie that tastes like it makes you fat wins!