In today’s hectic world, it’s tough to find the time to sit down for a proper meal. Whether you battle long hours at work or you have to get your kids to all their afterschool activities on time, when are you supposed to be able to find the time to eat wholesome and nutritious food that fuels your body right?
If you’re anything like the average American, odds are you settle for eating on the go. In fact, according to DoSomething.org, Americans eat 20 percent of their daily food intake in the car while going from appointment to appointment. While you might try to keep it healthy by sticking a banana in your purse or bringing your breakfast yogurt with you as you climb behind the wheel, a new study from researchers at the U.K.’s University of Surrey and published in the Journal of Health Psychology might prove that eating on the go could lead to significant weight gain after all.
For some people, eating while walking or driving isn’t a preference – it’s a necessity. Getting to work on time or arriving to pick your kids up after school are both imperatives, and in the minds of many Americans, it’s just as well to scarf down a quick snack or sandwich en route than wait to get home and have a sit-down meal.
However, Jane Ogden, Ph.D., professor of health psychology at the University of Surrey and lead author of the study, explained in a statement that trying to eat while mobile may be sabotaging your nutritional health more than you know.
Ogden examined a group of 60 women who described themselves as either being on diets or not caring about their nutritional consumption at the time of the study. All subjects were provided with one cereal bar and instructed to either watch a five-minute video clip of a popular TV show, go for a short walk or chat with a friend while eating. After this phase, the participants were then provided with a selection of healthy and unhealthy snacks.
Ogden found that the subjects who walked around while eating their cereal bars were five times more likely to overindulge in snacks compared to their counterparts.
“This may be because walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger,” Ogden said in a statement. “Or it may be because walking, even just around a corridor, can be regarded as a form of exercise which justifies overeating later on as a form of reward.”
While there’s probably nothing you can do about your schedule that has you constantly moving from one scheduled event to the next, you don’t have to put yourself in a position to overeat later on in the day.
In fact, if you research what cell health supplements might be right for your lifestyle, you could give your body a nutritional boost without having to risk the extra calories of an on-the-go snack that just leaves you hungrier in the end.