Eating on the Go: Helpful or Harmful to Weight Loss?
With so many places to be and so many things to do, eating on the go has become the norm. There are days when it feels nearly impossible to sit down and enjoy our three square meals, which is why travel-friendly foods are celebrating a heyday.
But even if you're trying to choose healthy options while buzzing from point A to point B, new research finds that eating on the go can lead to the consumption of more food.
The Journal of Health Psychology released a study which found dieters who were instructed to eat a cereal bar while taking a walk were more likely to eat more than those given the same snack while watching TV or engaged in conversation.
The study included 60 women, a mix of dieters and non-dieters, who were separated into three groups. One group was asked to walk, one watched an episode of Friends and the other chatted up a fellow participant, all the way consuming the cereal bar.
Afterwards everyone filled out a survey and was presented with four bowls of snacks to munch on including M&Ms, carrot sticks, grapes, and chips. In the end it was the dieters in the walking group who ate five times more candy than those not trying to lose weight.
While the number of participants was small and the fact that it was conducted in a lab may have altered some behaviors, lead author professor Jane Ogden of the University of Surrey surmised this: "Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later in the day."
But she advises that it's not just walking while eating that can make one eat more, it's really any sort of distraction.
"Even though walking had the most impact, any form of distraction, including eating at our desks can lead to weight gain," said Ogden. "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 recognize the food that has just been consumed."
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