Hey, you, scrolling through your phone chomping on that burrito. Save this post to read later, and put down the phone! Trust me. Finish that delicious burrito free of distractions. Not only does eating without distractions make your food taste better (anecdotally), but it also helps you better control portions, minimizes mindless snacking later in the day, and brings you more joy (factually). Did you know that 1 in 3 people reported that they actually can’t dine without their cell phone. Those suckers are addicting, so let me give three good reasons to ditch it and enjoy your meals free of distraction (this includes the TV, too).
It causes you to eat more at mealtime.
A meta-analysis study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed 24 studies on eating habits and distractions. They found that eating when distracted produced a moderate increase in immediate intake of food. Why? Your brain isn’t registering what you are putting into your body, slowing the ability for your brain to receive the signal that you are full.
I guess it is true what your granny said. You eyes are bigger than your stomach.
It causes you to snack more later in the day.
In the same vain as the above point, not paying attention to the food we are eating means your brain doesn’t have a chance to truly register what you’ve just ingested and this carries over into other meals. Our memory plays an important role in appetite control and satiation. So, if you are distracted at mealtime, chances are you will feel like you “need” a snack more often and sooner.
It steals your joy.
One study by published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that participants who brought their phones to the dinner table felt more distracted and reported lower enjoyment if they used their phones than if they did not. So while you can use that awesome smart phone to connect with people around the world, it is an important reminder to prioritize connecting with those at your dinner table first. Another study found that 9 out of 10 couples felt their spouse was ignoring them in favor of technology.
Moral of the story–you’ll make everyone happier if you enjoy mealtime!