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Why You Should Avoid TV While Eating

Updated: Aug 17

If you're looking for a way to reduce your eating, try turning off the videos and TV. In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to fall into the habit of multitasking during meals, often turning to phone and TV screens for entertainment while eating. However, research suggests that this seemingly harmless practice could have significant implications for your overall health and well-being.

Researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado State University found that the noise your food makes while you’re eating can have a significant effect on how much you eat.

television watcher

The Distraction Dilemma

Have you ever noticed how engrossed you become in your favorite TV show or movie while you're eating? It's not just your imagination – when you divert your attention to the screen, you're likely to consume more calories without even realizing it.

The study from Brigham Young University reveals that the more distracted you are during a meal, the less aware you are of the amount of food you're consuming. This lack of awareness can lead to overeating and contribute to weight gain over time. The “Crunch Effect,” as they call it, suggests you’re likely to eat less if you’re more conscious of the sound your food makes while you’re eating.

Watching loud TV or listening to loud music while eating can mask eating sounds that prevent you from overeating.

Mindful Eating: The Key to Better Health

Mindful eating is a practice that encourages you to savor each bite and pay full attention to the sensory experience of your meals. When you focus on the taste, texture, and aroma of your food, you're more likely to recognize feelings of fullness and satisfaction. By avoiding TV while eating, you give yourself the opportunity to cultivate this mindful approach, leading to improved digestion, better portion control, and a deeper connection with your body's hunger cues.

“When you mask the sound of consumption, like when you watch TV while eating, you take away one of those senses and it may cause you to eat more than you would normally,” said Ryan Elder, assistant professor of marketing at BYU’s Marriott School of Management. “The effects many not seem huge...but over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up.”

Building Healthy Habits

Breaking the habit of watching TV while eating might not be easy initially, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Start by creating a designated eating space – whether it's at the dining table or a cozy nook – where distractions like TV, smartphones, and other screens are off-limits. As you enjoy your meal, engage in light conversation with family members or simply relish the peaceful moment of nourishment.

“Sound is typically labeled as the forgotten food sense,” says Ryan Elder, assistant professor of marketing at BYU’s Marriott School of Management. “But if people are more focused on the sound the food makes, it could reduce consumption.”

A Family Affair

Avoiding TV during meals isn't just a personal endeavor; it can also positively impact your family dynamic. Use mealtime as an opportunity to connect with your loved ones, sharing stories and creating lasting memories. When everyone is present and engaged, not only will you be fostering healthier eating habits, but you'll also strengthen your relationships.

Change for the Better

Incorporating small changes into your daily routine can lead to significant improvements in your overall well-being. By choosing to avoid TV while eating, you're taking a proactive step toward mindful eating, better digestion, and healthier relationships. Every meal is a chance to nourish your body – so why not make the most of it?

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