Concentrate on food to ditch pounds


It's the latest research to point out the negative effects using a smart phone or tablet can have on everyday life, with other recent studies claiming gadgets can disrupt memory and cause a poor night's sleep.

But this time TV is also a culprit, with researchers from the University of Birmingham finding that those who were distracted with technology as they ate were much more prone to snacking later on.

It's all to do with how our memory for recent meals plays a part in appetite. Meaning if we're not concentrating as we eat, our brains may not remember the meal, so it's likely we'll reach for the snacks quicker.

Thirty-nine normal-weight young women were looked at as part of the study, with each assigned one of three experimental conditions; high-distraction group, low-distraction group and no-distraction group.

Each participant was given the same 400-calorie lunch. The food items were presented in a fixed order, with each woman told to eat all the items.

High-distraction group participants had to play a computer game while eating and were told they'd win money if they did well.

Low-distraction women had to play the game with no incentive, and the no-distraction group simply ate.

Later on each of the study groups had access to biscuits. Researchers noted what was eaten, with results showing there was a notable difference between the groups. High-distraction eaters consumed 69 per cent more snacks and low-distraction participants ate 28 per cent more than the no-distraction group.

Another task was then carried out with a further 63 people. This time contributors in the distraction category ate soup and bread for lunch while watching TV. Again, being distracted showed that participants ate 19 per cent more biscuits later on.

"Distraction during eating increased later snack intake, while focusing on food decreased later snack intake," researchers said.

"The results suggest that attentive eating may be a useful target in interventions to help with appetite control," the researchers concluded.

Results have been published in journal Appetite.

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