Want to eat less now AND later – come to full attention! In a compelling new review of 24 former studies that focused on eating while distracted vs. eating while attentive – the results were noteworthy. The more distracted and the less mindful we are during eating, the more we tend to eat in that sitting, and even more so, during the next feeding. For this evaluation, scientists selected tightly controlled intervention studies that monitored how study participant’s attention, memory, and awareness of eating influenced how much they ate. On average, consuming food while distracted, like watching TV increased the amount of food eaten by 10%. Even more notable, eating with distractions increased what study subjects ate at the subsequent meal by more than 25%. Study interventions that enhanced memories of the foods eaten at previous meals decreased the amount consumed at the following meals by 10%. Taken together, these results indicate that distracted, mindless eating can boost what we eat by as much as 50%!
Of all the quick and easy things we can do to help us eat less, simply paying attention may be the most powerful and effective. So you can eat less, click here for my suggested tips and tactics to cultivate mindfulness at your mealtimes. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 4:97, 2013)