Distracted Eating Causes More Calorie Consumption

In this fast-paced world, we tend to give less thought to what we deem as a habit especially if we cannot see any direct negative impact. Such as tweeting or checking your emails during meals. However, research has proven that this habit is indeed damaging.

distracting eating

TV dinners have long been a trend in most households. Whether it becomes a norm in the family or a habit developed by those living alone or couples staying in small spaces where the dining area shares the same space as the TV room. Today, given the vast technology devices, more and more of us a prone to be glued to our smartphones and tablets while we’re dining – be it at home or when eating out. Apart from destroying social skills and communication among loved ones, distracted eating has been proven to cause additional and unnecessary calorie intake.

Often known as ‘eating amnesia’, this habit takes away the experience of enjoying the meal making the body easily forget the act. What happens next is frequent eating not due to hunger but more like false hunger, as the body fails to remember that the necessary intake of food has already taken place. A review study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition took into account two different group of eaters – attentive eaters and distracted eaters. Various studies were conducted with different distractions ranging from studying to playing computer games.

The findings of this study showed that when people remembered what they ate earlier, it decreased intake at the next meal by 10 per cent. In a similar study by the researchers at University of Birmingham (UK), researchers found that distracted eaters consumed 10 per cent more calories at one meal than those who were not distracted.

In addition to that, the calorie intake at the subsequent meal was a whopping 25 per cent more. “When our brain is distracted during eating we are unable to fully register what we are eating and how much we are eating,” explains Sally Clifton, a Registered Dietitian with Shands Jacksonville’s Employee Wellness Program. “It is like multi-tasking – even though we think we can do it, we are never really able to fully devote attention to one task,” she adds.

Given the worrying findings of numerous studies, it is therefore important to focus on each meal to ensure the intake of calories does not increase. Or you will end up in a Huntington Beach health center. Here are some tips on how to take your time and enjoy the food

1. Turn off all media and electronic devices during mealtimes. Make it a practice in your Huntington Beach home and use mealtimes to sit together as a family so that no one is distracted. Try the no-phones trick when dining out with your friends as well. Not only will your calorie intake be reduced, you will also notice better communication and stronger social skills

2. Try eating with your non-dominant hand as this will help you slow down and not rush through a meal.

3. Take time after every single bite to savour the food and thoroughly chew before swallowing and indulging in the next bite.

4. Start timing yourself and give yourself an hour to complete a meal. You can set a timer or plan something that starts in an hour such as running the bath. Soon, it will become a habit to spend quality time enjoying your meal.

Pick one tip for a start if it is too challenging. Once it becomes a habit, slowly pile on other habits and keep practicing for healthy eating.


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