How often do you eat your lunch in front of your computer, or let the kids watch a TV show while they eat breakfast or check your blackberry a few times while you are eating dinner? If you’re honest the answer is probably "sometimes". I definitely do all of these things on occasion. We’ve heard that you should be "mindful" while you eat so you avoid eating too much. But now there’s more understanding as to why you should put away the distractions at meal time‘especially if your resolution was the classic "lose weight, eat healthy", which is one more thing I can cop to!
A small U.K. study of 44 men and women had some participants eat lunch while playing a computer game, the other participants ate lunch with no distractions. Both groups were then offered cookies 30 minutes after they had lunch. The computer group ate 250 calories worth of cookies (FYI: a large commercially prepared cookie is 68 calories), while the other group ate only half that amount. The researchers believe the computer users ate more because distractions during our meals impair our memories of what we’ve eaten, which has an effect on our appetite. According to Jeffrey M Brunstrom, of the University of Bristol and one of the researchers on the study, when our memory from a meal is fuzzy because we were distracted we tend to consume more food the next time we eat.
All the more reason to make the effort to focus on what you eat and savour every bite!