Boring TV can make you fat

09:30 AEST Thu Jul 17 2014
MSN NZ
While watching dull shows, the women taking part binged on more food compared to the entertaining comedy programme. (Getty images)
While watching dull shows, the women taking part binged on more food compared to the entertaining comedy programme. (Getty images)

Researchers in Sweden have found that the more exciting a television show is, the less likely women will binge on calorie-laden food.

Prevention.com reports that scientists at the Uppsala University analysed 18 women as they snacked and watched a range of different programmes.

The women were shown an 'engaging' episode of a popular comedy show as well as a 'boring' art lecture.

As a control the scientists also monitored bingeing habits while the women took part in another 'boring' activity - reading a text on insects living in Sweden.

Their findings revealed that ‘boring’ activities increased a woman's tendency to snack on unhealthy foods.

While watching dull shows, the women taking part binged on more food compared to the entertaining comedy programme.

And the trend held up across different media, the researchers found.

Participants ate 35 per cent less when watching the 'engaging' episode on TV, compared with reading about insects.

The findings have prompted the team of scientists to question whether it is in fact how exciting or engaging the TV we watch is, rather than the act itself, that causes a person to eat more, says The Daily Mail.

“At very low levels of engagement, you kind of eat to engage yourself because you’re bored,” said Aner Tal, a research associate at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab.

“It might also have to do with the pacing.”

But he said the key is to ensure you choose healthy snacks while settling on the sofa for a night in front of the TV.

He added: “Use pre-portioned snacks as opposed to endless bowls.

“That means keeping the source of food out of sight, too.

“If you know you have a tendency to overeat while watching TV just snack on something that’s better for you. Have veggies as a snack instead of chips.”


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