Distraction Boosts Overeating

A study supports the theory that meal-time distractions mask cues of being full and lead to overconsumption.


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Distracted eating fosters overconsumption, a recent study at the University of Bristol, England, found. In a lunch experiment, half of the participants were asked to eat in front of a computer while playing the game solitaire, while the other half were told to focus on their meal. Those who ate in front of the computer found their meal less filling, and when allowed dessert (disguised as a taste test), ate twice as many cookies as the mindful eaters. Researchers say that memory plays a role in how we register what we eat and the degree to which it satisfies. Currently, US children consume about a quarter of their food while watching television.