Saturday, April 13, 2013

Does Distraction Matter?

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So often lunch is eaten distractedly while working or on-the-go. Most people pack a lunch and would think that it doesn’t matter how they eat it, but new research shows that how you eat is also important.

A recent review of 24 studies published in the April 2013 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that people eat more when they are distracted, and what is worse, they may eat more at subsequent meals too. The review looked at studies that manipulated memory, distraction and attention to food...


For example, in one such study, participants were instructed to play the computer game solitaire while they ate lunch. These individuals reported being less full, had less memory of their lunch, and ate significantly more snacks in another portion of the study than non-distracted participants.

While it makes sense that not paying attention could cause someone to eat more at a meal, what was most surprising and concerning to me is that eating later in the day increased to an even greater extent!

My goal this week will be to make sure to eat my meals away from my desk without distractions, and make sure my kids are doing the same!

References:
  1. Robinson E, Aveyard P, Daley A, et al. Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):728-42.
  2. Oldham-Cooper RE, Hardman CA, Nicoll CE, Rogers PJ, Brunstrom J. Playing a computer game during lunch affects fullness, memory for lunch, and later snack intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb;93(2):308-13.

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