An increasing amount of research shows an association between television, a more laid back lifestyle and eating more.
However, the latest study by Cornell University says not all TV is alike and some programs might lead people to eat twice as much as others.
“We find that if you’re watching an action movie while snacking your mouth will see more action too,” says Aner Tal, lead author of an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine.
“In other words, the more distracting the program is the more you will eat.”
Researchers at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab studied 94 undergraduates snacking on M&Ms, biscuits, carrots and grapes while watching 20 minutes of television programming.
A third of them watched a segment of the science fiction action movie The Island, a third watched a segment from the talk show the Charlie Rose Show and a third watched the same segment from The Island without sound.
“People who were watching The Island ate almost twice as many snacks, 98% more than those watching the talk show.
Even those watching The Island without sound ate 36% more.
People watching the more distracting content also consumed more calories, with 354 calories consumed by those watching The Island (314 calories with no sound) compared to 215 calories consumed by those watching the Charlie Rose Show.
The researchers suggest pre-plating or pre-portioning TV snacks instead of bringing out a whole bag of chips.
The good news is that action movie watchers also eat more healthy foods, if that’s what’s in front of them.
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