Are you trying to lose weight? Research from Cornell University shows that there’s some stuff you then better don’t watch on TV.
“Really, You Just Have To Watch TV!”
Now that’s the kind of experiment students love to volunteer for: watch 20 minutes from the action movie The Island or from the tranquil Charlie Rose Show.
And while you do that, you can help yourself to as many M&Ms, chips, carrots and grapes as you like.
Would how much you eat depend on what you watched?
How Much You Munch Depends On What You Watch
The Cornell people weighed the snacks before and afterwards and found some interesting differences:
- If participants watched a quiet interview for 20 minutes, they had 215 kcal
- If they watched 20 minutes of the action movie without sound, they ate 315 kcal
- If the movie’s sound was turned on, they ramped it up to 354 kcal
The more fast-paced and involving things on the screen were, the more people ate. When comparing the total amount per gram, action with sound resulted in doubling it: 206.5 g vs. 104.3 g for the talk show.
Male subjects, by the way, helped themselves to a bit more than the women. I let you decide if that was due to better female self-control or a feminine inability to concentrate on action movies.
I think I’ll ask Cornell to repeat the study with a segment from Twilight: Breaking Dawn, but I’m not sure they’ll get male participants for that.
You Could Be Eating Carrots Without Noticing
The good news was that the action movie watchers ate more of both, the healthy and the unhealthy snacks. Which means you can replace chips with carrots and as long as you watch Terminator you won’t notice or couldn’t care less.
One of the study’s co-authors was Brian Wansink, by the way. The man has a knack for finding the weirdest ways to make us lose weight.
Picture courtesy of Fernando Mafra.