You just finished your work day but only have 30 minutes until you have to be across town for an evening event. Lunch has long worn off, and it will be hours until you get home.
You’re going to have to eat this one on the run.
You map out quick options along your route — the taco stand, the joint with pizza by the slice, the greasy burger restaurant.
It’s just calories to get you through, but what does such careless eating do to your body?
Research suggests that eating on the run is less physically satisfying.
The study from the University of Surrey examined a group of women, both dieters and non-dieters. They were lead to believe the study was looking at how distraction affects food taste.
The study broke the women into three group. The first, watched television while eating a cereal bar. The second had to walk around while eating. The third, ate while conversing with a friend.
Afterwards, the women filled out questionnaires and took part in taste tests of bowls of snacks. Researchers noted how much food was eaten from the bowls.
The dieters ate more after walking with their food, than those dieters that had watched television or talked with a friend. They also ate more snacks afterwards.
“Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day,” said lead author Jane Ogden, a behavioral psychologist at Surrey, in a press release.
Feelings of satiation are mental as well as physical. Your stomach tells you your full, but your brain also has to think so.
“Walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger,” said Ogden, in the release.
Mindless while eating, makes us overeat.
“Even though walking had the most impact, any form of distraction, including eating at our desks can lead to weight gain,” said Ogden in the release. “When we don’t fully concentrate on our meals and the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating where we don’t track or recognize the food that has just been consumed.”
While the results weren’t the same for the non-dieters, this research is still a good reminder for dieter, non-dieter, females and males alike, to take these small opportunities to slow down in the course of the day and take twenty minutes to eat a meal instead of dashing to the next activity.