Damn you, HBO. Blame Jaime Lannister for your gut. Watching TV shows with gripping storylines can cause you to overeat, finds new research from the U...
Blame Jaime Lannister for your gut. Watching TV shows with gripping storylines can cause you to overeat, finds new research from the University of North Carolina.
While simpler shows like The Big Bang Theory don’t lead to much mindless munching, shows with deep plots and layered characters appear to increase your calorie intake, the study says. The more involved you are in what you’re watching, the more you eat.
Why? Because plot twists are distracting. “To follow along with a complicated storyline, you have to concentrate a lot more than you would watching something simple,” says study coauthor Elizabeth Lyons, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch. And because your mind’s occupied with all those Stark children or with Don Draper’s latest mistress, you’re not thinking about the chips you’re shoveling down your throat, the study finds.
Nutrition scientists already knew eating in front of the boob tube is a big mistake if you’re trying to control your weight. But Lyons’ study is among the first to reveal the type of programs you watch can make a difference when it comes to your eating. Her study also found video games with involved plotlines—say, “Bioshock Infinite”—lead to more calories consumed.
The obvious advice: Don’t eat in front of the TV. But if you can’t resist, “only bring a specific amount of food with you in front of the television,” Lyons says. So rather than grabbing the whole bag of chips, dump a few into a bowl. Past research shows this type of premeditated portion control limits overeating even if you’re not sitting in front of the tube.
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