‘Eating on the go’ while trying to lose weight could prove counter-productive, with a new study finding that it leads to eating bigger portions later in the day, increasing risk of weight gain and obesity.
Published in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers from the University of Surrey have found that munching while on the move led to more overeating than consuming food while watching TV or talking to a friend.
“Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day,” said lead author professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey.
“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.”
The study looked at 60 females who were either dieters or non-dieters and gave them all a cereal bar to eat under three different conditions. The first group was asked to watch a five-minute clip of Friends while eating, the second was asked to walk around a corridor, while the third group was told to sit and chat to a friend. After, 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 results showed that dieters ate more snacks at the taste test if they had eaten the initial cereal bar whilst walking around. They also ate five times more chocolate.
Ogden added: “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.”
The importance of taking quality time to properly enjoy a meal has come under increasing focus recently. Despite mounting evidence that where and how we consume our food can have serious health implications, recent statistics showed that more than half of UK office workers regularly eat lunch at their desk. – See more at: http://www.spaopportunities.com/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=317654#sthash.7eQKiSQw.dpuf