Live Better
 
 

Is your favourite TV show making you overeat?

What we watch on TV affects our waistline, new research shows.

We all know how easy it is to devour a whole packet of chips in front of the TV without even realising it. Most likely, none of us are surprised by studies that have linked television watching with mindless eating. Research has consistently shown that watching TV can distract us, reducing our awareness of food consumption – which explains why that pizza disappeared while you were engrossed in the footy, without you even remembering what it tasted like.

But did you know that what you watch might be influencing how much you eat? New research from Cornell University suggests it does, finding that fast-moving, stimulating content leads to more mindless overeating. “The more distracting a TV show, the less attention people appear to pay to eating, and the more they eat,” the researchers concluded.

For the study, participants were provided with generous amounts of snacks and randomly assigned to watch one of three programs, each with vastly different levels of visual and auditory stimulation – an excerpt of the action movie The Island, a PBS documentary program hosted by Charlie Rose, or the same section of The Island shown without sound.

The result? The more stimulating the program, the more snacks were eaten. Those who watched the action movie with sound ate nearly twice as much as those who watched the documentary. Even watching the silent version of The Island lead to participants eating 36% more food than those watching Charlie Rose.

 

Recommended Reading

Do you really need to detox?

Nutrition expert Dr Tim Crowe untangles the myths and facts.

Read more

Chicken skewers with carrot, beet and apple salad recipe

Fresh and tasty skewers with a colourful salad.

Read more

Easy ways to refresh your food habits

Nutritionist Sarah Boykett shares tips for mixing it up.

Read more

Pork and peanut tacos recipe

A mouthwatering feast with rich peanut sauce.

Read more

Healthy Friday night fish and chips recipe

A deliciously light alternative to a takeaway favourite.

Read more

Pico de gallo and avocado tacos recipe

Make tacos at home the authentic Mexican way.

Read more

5 summer foods that hydrate you

How to increase your fluid intake

Read more

Roast sweet potato and cherry tomato omelette recipe

An easy and delicious roast veggie omelette.

Read more