This Work Habit Could Be Making You Fatter
Do you eat on the go or at your desk? If so, you might want to stop.
A recent study from the University of Surrey has found that both habits make you more likely to overeat later in the day, leading to unwanted weight gain.
The study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, found that people who "save time" by eating on the go were especially at risk, countering the logic we've often employed - that we're "working it off" while eating.
Researchers asked participants in the study to eat a cereal bar while distracted. The forms of distraction included walking at the same time as they were eating, watching a TV sitcom or engaging in conversation with a friend.
Afterwards, the women were asked to complete a follow-up questionnaire and a taste test with four different snacks.
Participants' consumption of the snacks (which included chocolate, carrot sticks, grapes and crisps) were measured after they left the room.
Researchers found that those who partook ate more at the taste test if they had been "distracted" while eating the cereal bar. In particular, they ate five times as much chocolate.
Lead author, Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey, said "Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day."
"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."
"Even though walking had the most impact, any form of distraction, including eating at our desks can lead to weight gain. When we don’t fully concentrate on our meals and the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating where we don’t track or recognise the food that has just been consumed."