Snacking at your keyboard makes you eat more

Friday, December 17, 2010

LONDON - Many of us absentmindedly reach for snacks with one hand while tapping away on the keyboard with the other. Now scientists say that eating at your desk makes you far more likely to snack later in the day.

Researchers from the University of Bristol were studying the ways in which memory and attention influence our appetite.

They asked one group of participants to eat a lunch that comprised nine different foods while playing Solitaire - a computerised card-sorting game, reports the Daily Mail.

They gave a second group the same lunch but provided no distractions. The team found those who played Solitaire felt less full after lunch.

The effect was long-lasting as half an hour later the participants who played the computer game ate around twice as many chocolate biscuits as the non-distracted participants.

At the end of the test session, the distracted participants also found it more difficult to remember what order they had eaten the food items provided for lunch.

The scientists said their findings showed that distraction during one meal can lead to increased food intake later in the day, which could have a significant impact on obesity.

Lead author Jeff Brunstrom from Bristol University said: “When people think about memory, they think about remembering shopping lists and peoples names and things like that.”

Previous studies have noted a similar effect at work on people who eat while watching TV.

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