Have you heard of the blindfolded eating trend that’s quickly gaining popularity? Many people are intentionally eating while wearing blindfolds so they can’t see their food during the meal.
Some people try blindfolded eating for the novelty of experiencing something new and unusual or to better understand the experience of actual blindness. Others believe it provides them a more authentic eating experience, enhancing their senses of smell, taste, and touch. There’s also evidence blindfolded eating can lead to less food consumption.
Keep reading to find out who is eating blindfolded, why, and what scientific research has to say about blindfolded eating and health.
Restaurants and Events
Abigail’s Kitchen (formerly Camaje), a restaurant in New York City, pioneered the blindfolded eating restaurant trend with “Dinners in the Dark,” a now twice-weekly blindfolded dinner they’ve been offering to patrons for over 10 years.
Now, blindfolded eating restaurants and events are popping up across the country and world. Blackout in Las Vegas only serves plant-based meals in a pitch black room to provide “an incredibly sensory experience.” Blindekuh restaurants in Zurich and Basel, Switzerland, serve food to blindfolded patrons both to support blind people and provide an eating experience that leads to “pleasure in its most intense form.” The blindfolded dining experience has also made its way to Mexico City with The Blind Dinner.
The trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. This year, an Atlanta restaurant called Guac y Margys held a blindfolded taco night so patrons could emulate the characters in Netflix’s “Bird Box.” (The movie’s chacters have to stay blindfolded to survive.) A non-profit for the blind in New Hampshire threw a blindfolded eating dinner meant to allow attendees to better understand what it’s like to be blind while raising funds.
You might wonder, is there any research-based reason for trying blindfolded eating, or is it all for fun and awareness?
While researchers haven’t studied if blindfolded eating increases your senses of taste, smell, or touch like many blindfolded eaters claim it does, they have studied the effect of blindfolded eating on food consumption.
In a 2016 study, blindfolded participants ate 9 percent less than non-blindfolded participants and overestimated how much they ate by 88 percent, which suggests they felt satisfied. Studies from 2002 and 2003 found blindfolded eaters ate 22-24 percent less food without feeling less full, suggesting blindfolded eating could help people eat less food and still feel satiated.
A 2010 study determined that eating in the dark diminished a person’s ability to gauge how much they’d eaten, regardless of if they were fed smaller or larger portions. This suggests that people wanting to use blindfolded eating to consume less should set out only the amount of food they want to eat in advance of putting on a blindfold.
Try It Yourself
If you want to try blindfolded eating, whether for the unique sensory experience or to eat less, you don’t have to travel far or pay a lot of money to do so. Instead of attending an organized event, enjoy your own blindfolded experience at home. Delishably, a website dedicated to food and eating, lays out step-by-step instructions for creating your own blindfolded eating experience.
Written by: Jay Summer