Bristol

Eating at desk 'affects appetite'

Man holding sandwich over computer keyboard
Image caption Researchers believe it is another way that sedentary screen-time activities might promote obesity

Eating while sitting at a computer screen can affect your appetite later that day, scientists from the University of Bristol (UoB) believe.

Researchers split participants into two groups, with one playing on a computer game while eating.

They found the group with the computers became distracted from their food and reported feeling less full, snacked more and had a poorer memory.

The research features in January's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Academics from the nutrition and behaviour unit at the UoB had been looking at ways in which memory and attention influence appetite and food intake.

In their study, both groups ate a lunch comprising of nine items and one group played solitaire - a computer card game - at the same time.

The researchers found participants who played solitaire felt less full after lunch and that the effects of distraction were longer lasting.

When asked to remember the food items that they had been given, the participants who had played solitaire found it harder to recall the items of food consumed.

'Promotes obesity'

The study built on previous experiments which had looked at people eating in front of a television.

Dr Jeff Brunstrom, reader in behavioural nutrition and one of the authors of the paper, said the results suggest memory affects our behaviour in an unconscious way.

He said people often consumed more food if they were engrossed in what they were doing.

"This reveals another mechanism by which sedentary screen-time activities might promote obesity."

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