Walking is normally a good thing if you're trying to lose weight—except if you do it while eating breakfast. Noshing on a meal while on the move could make you prone to overeating later on in the day, according to new findings from the University of Surrey.
For the study, researchers asked 60 college-aged women to fill out a questionnaire about how hungry they were and how bad they wanted to eat something. Then, they asked the ladies to eat a cereal bar while doing one of three activities for five minutes: watching TV, chatting with another particpant, or walking.
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After they finished one of those activities, they were asked to fill out another questionnaire about how hungry they were at that moment, how much they wanted to eat, and whether they were trying to watch what they ate. Then, the researchers asked them to "taste test" chocolate, grapes, carrots, and chips. After seven minutes of munching, the women shared their thoughts on the flavors of the snacks—and the researchers covertly [fair to add?] measured how much of each food the participants ate.
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that women who were watching what they ate consumed more chocolate after eating the cereal bar and walking than after watching TV or speaking with another person while eating.
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Researchers think that these results could indicate that walking is more of a distraction than talking or watching TV, but they're not sure why. At the same time, the study authors hypothesize that the women might have snacked on more chocolate after eating a cereal bar and walking because taking a stroll is form of exercise. The participants might have figured, "Hey, I just did some physical activity—so I'm going to eat as much candy as I want." And since chocolate is a food that might be considered off-limits for someone who's watching what they eat, they may have jumped at the opportunity to eat what they saw as some guilt-free sweets, the study authors write.
Granted, the researchers can't say for sure why these results turned out they way they did since the study didn't look at causation. Plus, the study authors admit that the lab setting wasn't the most natural way to observe the effects of distracted eating. For example, making small talk with a stranger while eating and being watched isn't something that most women encounter in real life. #AwkwardTurtle
The authors also think that more research is needed to determine whether eating and walking could affect how much people consume over the long term.
So is eating on the go really going to make your pants tighter? The jury is still out, but it's not a bad idea to sit down and eat your breakfast more mindfully just in case.
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