Often we are told to rise up from our chairs to help offset the health woes associated with sitting too much. But if we want to glean more joy from a meal, says a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, then we’re better off taking a seat.

Researchers from the University of South Florida found that posture influences our taste perception, with food tasting better when we’re sitting down. Holding a standing posture for a few minutes was found to elicit physical stress and mute taste buds, potentially via increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. For instance, study participants who were standing gave a pita chip a less favorable flavor rating than those who sat comfortably in a padded chair while crunching on the chips. It appears that vestibular sense—responsible for balance, posture and spatial orientation—interacts with the gustatory sensory system, which affects taste and flavor.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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