Do You Watch Television While Eating? Then I Have Bad News for You

This joyful activity can lead to significant health problems

Simona Hostakova


When was the last time you paid attention to your food? When did you think about every bite you took, about the color, smell, or taste of the meal?

I guess that was a long time ago — if ever.

Watching television while eating is a common habit for everyone. Whether with your family or alone, enjoying the meal along with your favorite series creates a pleasant atmosphere.

Although, not surprisingly, it comes with many downfalls for your physical and mental health.

Charles Spence, Head of the Crossmodal Research Lab at Oxford University, suggests that watching television while eating is the worst thing you can do.

If you eat in front of the television, you’re paying attention to what’s going on there, instead of focusing on your food. Because of this, you might end up eating as much as 1/3 more than you would eat without watching TV.

Television and mindfulness don’t go together. Eating while watching your favorite TV show counts as multitasking.

Multitasking makes your brain distracted, so you end up not knowing what you’ve actually eaten. Same as eating in a hurry when you eat too fast without questioning whether your food portion was appropriate.

A team from the University of Birmingham has done studies that talk about two important mental assets connected to eating habits: attention and memory.


In the studies, two groups of people received a meal. The first group was eating while watching TV, while the second group was enjoying the same meal without any distractions.

The result?

The first group distracted by TV has eaten much more than the second group.

The reason?

When you start eating, your brain needs around 15–20 minutes to process the information from your stomach whether you ate enough or not.

If you were distracted by the TV while eating, or you’ve eaten your meal too fast, your brain has difficulty processing…



Simona Hostakova

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