Pattaya Daily News

09 July 2008 :: 12:07:22 pm 21806

Watching Too Much Tv While Eating Makes You Fat!

Most folk know how watching too much television can lead to mental stagnation and that not doing enough exercise leads to weight-gain, but a recent Canadian study has now shown that watching TV can also lead to an increase in the quantity we eat.
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Studying childhood obesity, University of Toronto nutritionist Harvey Anderson discovered that children who watch TV while eating lunch absorbed 228 extra calories than those who ate without the TV on.

Contrary to how it may appear, Dr. Harvey Anderson is not running a teenage social club at his office at the University of Toronto, despite the fact that he’s feeding teenage boys all-you-can-eat pizza and providing their own televisions to watch the Simpsons while eating. What he’s actually doing is conducting extensive research on childhood obesity.

He’s actually discovered that eating while watching television overrides our ability to know when to stop eating; basically, mindless television watching produces mindless eating.

Anderson, a nutritional specialist, is deeply concerned alarmed by the rising rates of childhood obesity. Popular conception puts obesity largely down to genetics, with hormones such as Leptibut being blamed for the inability to control appetite, however, Anderson doesn’t completely share this view.

Yes, genetics contribute, but he reckons it’s more down to environmental factors, such as lifestyle, social class, where you live etc. There’s nothing wrong with our biology, as such, “Our food intake control system is actually very good and is not in disarray despite what one hears about the obesity epidemic,” he maintains.

Rather it’s other factors, and to find out what exactly, he’s been studying what are called “satiety factors”, that is, what actually makes us feel full and tells us when to stop eating.

He then intuited that TV viewing habits may have some part to play in the process of becoming fat, especially when one eats while watching it. “It was the first study done of its kind,” Anderson said, “people have looked at the influence of television before, but only in terms of how much television was watched during the day, not whether kids were eating while watching television and how much they ate.”

Anderson used two control groups of children, tested four times under different conditions. All the children had previously eaten breakfast at home 2 hours before. One group was given calorie-free sweetened water, while the other received sweetened water with glucose, a so-called “caloric pre-load”. 30 minutes afterwards, both groups ate lunch. However, of these two groups, some ate while watching the Simpsons, while the others just ate, without TV.

Those who managed to control their eating were those in the group who received an extra calorie dose before lunch and didn’t watch TV. However, among those exposed to TV, the extra calories appeared to have no effect on the amount they ate. The group that watched TV while eating, ate around 228 extra calories at lunch. Not a fantastic amount, granted, but it soon adds up, especially if it’s on a daily basis. Accordingly, Anderson simply advised parents not to turn on the TV when children eat. That way you can avoid having obese kids.

In another recent study, Anderson compared the part drinks have to play in suppressing appetite, specifically glucose and protein drinks. Although proteins are known to suppress appetite more than glucose, they didn’t seem to have that effect when given to obese boys. Accordingly, Anderson surmises that body fat is having some effect on the protein. He said “It could be that body fat is holding back or impeding the protein from helping suppress the appetite.”

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Health

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