Distracted eating can lead to increased consumption of calories, sugar, fat, salt, study finds

    Do you eat at your computer? While watching TV, or reading the paper? A new study finds that “distracted eating” can lead people to consume foods that are sweeter, saltier, and higher in fats.

    Scientists from the Netherlands conducted a series of experiments and tests. They asked study participants to taste foods while focusing on a different task, and then rate what they had consumed based on their sweetness, saltiness and so on.

    The researchers found that participants didn’t taste the foods and drinks while being distracted – they didn’t rate very sweet things as sweet, or salty treats as salty and so on. They also didn’t rate the foods as “satisfactory” while they were distracted.

    In their weekly conversation, WHYY’s behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott and psychologist Dan Gottlieb discuss this research. Dan also invites Maiken to try a practice called “mindful eating” and to “contemplate the sandwich.”

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