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Mealtime Screentime Could Mean More Calories

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/11/2011 2:32 PM   :  43 comments   :  10,008 Views

See More: news, healthy eating, tips,
I'm one of those people who always have to be busy doing something. In fact, if I'm not doing multiple things at once I don't feel very efficient. I know that I should sit down for meals without distraction, focusing on just eating and nothing else. That way it's easier to pick up on hunger cues and know when I'm full and need to stop. But in reality, that's not what I do. One of the things I'm most guilty of doing is eating in front of the computer. Could that end up making me eat more? A new study says "yes".

The small study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, put 44 people into two different groups. The first group ate lunch while playing solitaire on the computer, while the second ate the same meal with no distractions. "Thirty minutes after the meal, both groups took a cookie "taste test," in which they could sample as many of the sweet treats as they wanted. They were also asked to recall all nine items they'd eaten at lunch, and the order in which the foods were served. On average, the researchers found, the computer group downed roughly 250 calories' worth of cookies, while their counterparts ate only half as much. In addition, the computer group had more difficulty remembering the order in which their lunchtime fare was served, and typically reported feeling less full after lunch."

Sometimes at the end of the day and have a hard time recalling what I ate at each meal. That's because I'm so distracted when I eat. But on the days where I have quiet time with my kids to sit and enjoy my food, I find that I actually end up eating less. When you really focus on what you're eating, it's easier to feel more mentally and physically satisfied.

Check out 9 Simple Tricks to Eat Less, the benefits when you Stop and Chew Your Dinner and other strategies to help Overcome Overeating.

Do you eat meals in front of the computer? If so, have you tried breaking that habit to see if it affects how much you end up eating each day?


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