Distracted Eating

Dieters who eat “on the go’ may increase their food intake later in the day, which could lead to weight gain and obesity.  Jane Ogden, from the University of Surrey (United Kingdom), and colleagues enrolled 60 women (either dieters or non-dieters) in a study in which each was given a cereal bar to eat under three different conditions. The first group was asked to watch a five-minute clip ofa popular sitcom’ while eating; the second group was asked to walk around the corridor while consuming the cereal bar; the third group simply sat opposite a friend and have a conversation.  After the experiment, participants completed a follow-up questionnaire and a taste test involving four different bowls of snacks, including chocolate, carrot sticks, grapes and crisps.  How much they ate was measured after they left the room.  The dieters ate more snacks at the taste test if they had eaten the initial cereal bar while walking around; interestingly, they ate five times more chocolate.   The study authors warn that: “Eating on the go’ may disinhibit restrained eaters either as a form of distraction or by offering a justification to overeat.”

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