With today’s fast paced schedules many of us are finding less and less time to sit down and enjoy a meal. Even when meals are being prepared at home they are often times taken to eat on the go whether that’s in the car, on the train or while walking to our destination. Others are finding it hard to find time to prepare food at all and are grabbing food when they are on their way to work or on a break. New research published in the Journal of Health and Psychology has proven that people who are dieting and eat on the go may actually eat more later in the day.
Eating more later in the day has been linked to weight gain and even obesity. The science behind why those who tend to eat on the go typically eat more later on in the day shows that eating while busy or walking around can actually trigger more over-eating than if you chose to eat during some other form of distraction such as a conversation or even watching a TV show. (Sciencedaily.com)
The experiment that was published in the Journal of Health and Psychology studied 60 females and each were told to eat under 3 different circumstances. These women ranged from both dieters as well as non-dieters. The first group of women ate while watching a five minute clip of the show “Fiends”, the second group was asked to walk around while eating a cereal bar and the third group ate while sitting across from a friend and having a conversation. Once the experiment was completed all of the females in the groups were asked to fill out a questionnaire that asked them questions on taste preferences involving different types of foods such as chocolate, carrots, grapes, and crisps. Once they left the room the amount of each food they ate was recorded. The results from this particular experiment proved that the dieters actually ate more if they were walking around while eating and opted for chocolate more than the other snacks available.
Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey concluded that those who eat on the go can make dieters overeat later on in the day. Professor Ogden believes that "This may be because walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger. Or it may be because walking, even just around a corridor, can be regarded as a form of exercise which justifies overeating later on as a form of reward."
Whatever the distraction is whether it’s walking, watching TV or driving, being distracted while eating can lead to weight gain and should be avoided. Not focusing just on eating can lead to mindless eating and result in overeating and weight gain. Focusing on simply eating our meals and slowing down can help to prevent this from happening. Take the time to sit, relax and enjoy every meal you possibly can.