The Link Between What We Watch and What We Eat

There’s a link between what you watch and what you eat.

Most of us realize that snacking while watching TV isn’t a good idea, but it turns out that we’re more likely to binge on snacks when watching certain types of shows.

CBS News is reporting on a new study that found that people watching an action movie ate twice the amount of snacks as those watching an interview program.

The study at Cornell University involved college students who were split in three groups.

Each group was randomly assigned to watch either an excerpt from “The Island,” an action flick starring Scarlett Johansson; an identical excerpt from “The Island” but without the sound; or the interview program “The Charlie Rose Show.”

The subjects were provided with M&Ms, cookies, carrots and grapes to snack on while watching the shows. The researchers weighed the snacks before and after the experiment to see how much the people in each group had eaten.

Those who watched the action movie with sound on ate 206 grams of food — almost twice as much as those watching the interview program.

Interestingly, even the people who watched the action movie with no sound ate more than those who watched the interview show.

So what is it about action movies that makes viewers snack more?

Study author Aner Tal says “More stimulating programs that are fast paced and include many camera cuts, really draw you in and distract you from what you are eating. They can make you eat more because you’re paying less attention to how much you are putting in your mouth.”

So how can you avoid overeating during your favorite action movie? The researchers suggest pre-portioning your TV snacks, instead of bringing out a whole bag of chips or a box of cookies.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.