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How classical music leaves us hooked on chocolate biscuits

How classical music leaves us hooked on chocolate biscuits: Listening to Beethoven will calm you down… and could make you crave sweet treats, study shows

  • Listening to classical music could leave a person with a craving for biscuits
  • Almost 800 people listened to 20 tracks of all music genres for a study
  • After each song they were asked their intention to eat 16 different food items
  • Classic music turned people towards sweet foods and away from savoury junk 


Listening to Bach or Beethoven could leave you reaching for the biscuit tin – but turning down the burgers, a study suggests.

Nearly 800 participants listened to 20 tracks from four genres of music – classical, jazz, hip-hop and rock/metal. After hearing each song, they were asked to rate on a scale their intention to eat 16 food items and their emotional state during the track.

They felt calmer when listening to classical music and preferred sweet foods, researchers led by Miyagi University in Japan found. 

The likes of Elgar also appeared to turn people off savoury junk food such as burgers and chips.

Listening to Bach or Beethoven could leave you reaching for the biscuit tin – but turning down the burgers, a study suggests (stock image)

Researcher Charles Spence, of Oxford University, told journal Food Quality and Preference that the link between eating types of foods and music could be explained by our emotional state because previous studies have also found that people rate sweet foods as more calming.

‘People’s buying/eating intention might be increased in the affect congruent atmospherics,’ he said.

The researchers, led by Miyagi University in Japan, added: ‘Indulgent savoury foods were least preferred when listening to classical music, compared to the other genres,’ said the researchers.

For their study, nearly 800 participants listened to 20 different tracks from four genres of music.

Participants felt calmer when listening to classical music and preferred sweet foods, researchers led by Miyagi University in Japan found (stock image)

Participants felt calmer when listening to classical music and preferred sweet foods, researchers led by Miyagi University in Japan found (stock image)

Classical soundtracks included Elgar’s Salut d’amour and Bach’s Air on the G String, while jazz songs included Dave Brubeck’s Take Five and Miles Davis’s Walkin’.

For the hip-hop genre, it was tunes such as California Love by 2Pac and Dr Dre, and Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

The rock/metal section, meanwhile, comprised tracks such as Iron Maiden’s The Trooper and Metallica’s Master of Puppets.

Previous research by Texas Tech University found that people bought more expensive wine when classical music was played in a store, compared to when Top 40 chart tracks were on.

Another study, by Karlstad University in Sweden, found classical background music in a clothes shop prompted people to buy more expensive clothes.

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