Have you ever eaten popcorn at the movie theater and kept reaching down into the bin until it was empty? I know I have. There is something about eating in front of a screen or having another distraction that seems to make us continue to eat.
Well, there is an explanation as to why this generally happens. We do not usually know how to pay attention to eating when we are distracted. Eating while in front of a screen or other distractions can make it difficult to truly keep track of the amount one has just consumed.
According to BBC News and a study from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, people who are distracted may either eat more or get hungry more easily. This is because if we better remember what we’ve just eaten, we are unlikely to consume more food.
The memory task incorporated a group of 50 people with Body Mass Indexes ranging from healthy to obese sizes, according to BBC News.
In the study, the subjects were asked to hide objects. Then, they were asked the following three questions: what they had hidden, when did they hid it and where it was hidden. As BBC News stated, people whose BMIs proved they were obese had scores that were “15 [percent] lower than thinner people.”
However, although this test had results that showed obese people have worse memories than thinner people, I do not think the information is substantial enough yet. In my opinion, there should be more trials conducted to see how the results correspond with this experiment. I also think researchers should conduct future trials on this topic with more participants, because I do not think that 50 participants is sufficient.
Also, according to the study itself, this experiment was conducted with subjects who were between 18 and 35 years old. In my opinion, the next trial should be conducted with a wider range of ages.
Although memory and obesity seem to coincide, there is not enough information to find resources to help people with the problem. However, there are ways to better one’s memory that have already been proven. For example, exercise has been proven to positively effect memory.
Therefore, in the meantime, as research is still being conducted on obesity’s role in memory, there are ways to keep your mind active and better your memory so overeating will not pose a risk.
Next time, before you grab a bag of chips for your weekend movie marathon of “Harry Potter,” try to keep in mind that your memory can affect the amount of food you are about to eat.