Lights, Camera, Action! And overeating?

Most of us already know that watching television is associated with higher food consumption and a sedentary lifestyle. This is sometimes called mindless eating or paired eating, which is eating while doing another activity, such as watching television. More research is showing that the type of movie and TV show we are watching may influence the amount of food we consume as well.

According to a study from Cornell University, action shows could lead individuals to eat twice as much as when watching other types of programs. During the study, participants were given cookies, candy, carrots and grapes for snacks and they were told to watch an action movie, a talk show, or the same action movie without the sound. The results showed that those watching the action movie ate 98 percent more than those watching the talk show, which was 354 calories compared to 215 calories. Those that watched the action movie without sound ate 36 percent more than the talk show viewers. The idea behind the study is the action movies are more engaging which leads to more food consumption without knowing it.

Does this mean we should refrain from watching our favorite action movies? Absolutely not! However, it does mean that we should be more aware of our snack choices during a movie and pay attention to how much we are actually consuming. It is always a good idea to buy smaller portions, so you don’t end up scraping at the bottom of a large popcorn container wondering who ate all your popcorn.