Saturday, October 31, 2015

Why One Should Not Eat While Walking?

Overweight and obesity can lead to many chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Type-2 diabetes. Lack of physical activities and unhealthy diet can of course lead to weight gain and so can overeating. But how can people overeat?

People overeat because of habits, or because they eat too fast or they simply not aware of the calorie intake. Recently, researchers from the University of Surrey found that having meals while walking can also lead to overeat. Their findings were published online August 20, 2015 in the ‘Journal of Health Psychology’.

60 women were each given a cereal bar to eat under 3 different conditions: one group watched a 5-minute clip of the television show "Friends" while eating; the second group ate while walking around the hall; and the final group ate while sitting and talking with a friend. After the experiment, they were then asked to complete a follow-up questionnaires and a taste test involving 4 different bowls of snacks, including chocolate, carrot sticks, grapes and crisps. The researchers measured how many snacks they ate after they left the room.

Eating while walking around were found to trigger more overeating compared to eating during watching TV or having a conversation with a friend. Participants ate more snacks at the taste test if they had eaten the initial cereal bar whilst walking around and specifically they ate 5 times more chocolate. In other words, eating on the go might just make a person overeat later on in the day.

Walking is a powerful form of distraction that disrupts one’s ability to process the impact eating on one’s hunger, according to researchers. Meanwhile, people may regard walking as a form of exercise that justifies overeating later on as a form of reward. Any form of distraction including eating at the desk or in front of a TV can lead to weight gain. This is because people just do not track or recognize the food that has just been consumed when they are not fully concentrate on their meals.

By slowing down and paying attention, people can recognize when they are beginning to get full and stop before overeating. So in order to avoid overeating, it is important to focus on the food and refrain from eating while doing other activity like watching TV, looking at computer or cellphone, and to eat slowly by increasing the number of chews per bite.

Also, planning ahead can help one stick to a healthy diet. Instead of grabbing whatever looks good when hungry, grocery shopping should be done at the beginning of the week with a list to cover meals and snacks for the days ahead.

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