Eating on the move could lead to weight gain

New study finds that distracting yourself while you eat is likely to give you the munchies later.

21st August 2015

Eating on the move could lead to weight gain (Nicolas McComber/iStock)

If you’re thinking of tucking into your toast on your way out of the door in the morning then you could be in for a big surprise, as research published in the Journal of Health Psychology by the University of Surrey has discovered that dieters who eat while they are on the move are more likely to snack later in the day.

In the study, 60 females were given a cereal bar to eat while undertaking three different activities, walking around a corridor, chatting to friends or watching five minutes of Friends (...of course). They were then asked to fill a questionnaire and given a selection of snacks to eat, including chocolate. The study found that those who were on a diet ate five times more chocolate if they were walking around the corridor.

“Walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger,” says lead author Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey. “It may [also] 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."

So thinking about taking your desk at lunch then to help shave off the kilos? Alas, this is also a pretty bad move because your if you're clicking away at your emails, your brain is being distracted again. In fact anything that diverts attention away from the meal itself (like watching TV, having a chinwag or taking the participant questionnaire for yourself) is likely to lead to over eating at a later point.

So our advice is to go out to a park next time you're on your lunch break, enjoy your sandwich and think to yourself “mmm, this is delicious...”

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