A new study out of the United Kingdom confirms that we eat a lot when we're distracted, especially in front of a screen, TV or computer.
"What this study adds," says Dr. Melinda Sothern with LSU Health Sciences Center, "It has a separate group where they put them in a situation where they had to be attentive, or they had to pay attention and write down what they were eating, as they were eating it."
Dr. Sothern, one of the world's foremost researchers on obesity has also developed programs for overweight children and their families here in the New Orleans area. She says children are especially likely to eat a lot more in front of a screen, and "The flip side of that is true also. Children who actually dine as a family are less likely to be overweight."
The findings from this study were recently presented in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and they show not only do we eat about 10% more if we eat a meal in front of the TV or computer, but we eat 25% more at the next meal, as people are just unaware of what they're consuming.
This study really shows that writing down your food intake is a great tool for weight loss. "Self-monitoring is one of the techniques we use in weight management," says Dr. Sothern. "We ask people to write down their food so that they pay attention to how much they're eating and then we actually calculate the fat, sugar grams and calories for them and they're always remarkably twice what they thought they were taking in."
Click here for more on the study.