Eating snacks and watching T.V. – Is not good for the heart. While it has become a common practice to ease down and relax in front of T.V. Recent lockdowns due to Covid- 19 pandemic has added to the practice of eating in front of electronic screens. The restricted outdoor activities due to lockdowns have left limited options for both children and adults. The digital screen time has increased. Children are attending online classes, and spending most of their free time playing video games and watching their favorite programs on T.V. This may lead to an increase in cases of myopia ( A condition in which nearby objects appear clear but far away objects are not seen clear). Increasing dependence on electronic screens may have a negative impact on childhood development also. For more reading- Obese people are more at risk during Covid-19 <<= Click here.
“For my clients who look forward to eating while watching TV In the evenings, it’s because it’s their way to relax and turn their brain off,” says nutrition therapist Alisa Rumsey, MS, RD, and owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness.
Why eating snacks and watching T.V.- Not good for the heart?
Teenagers and adults- who regularly sit for long hours watching electronic screens and eating unhealthy snacks are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome ( A cluster of conditions like- high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels). The metabolic syndrome increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
It was found in a study that teens who spent six or more hours in front of screens were 71% more likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to those who spent less time watching electronic screens.
It has been observed that people who do not eat snacks while watching T.V. or other electronic screens are not associated with the increased risk of metabolic syndrome. While people, who are habitual of eating snacks and watching T.V. are more at risk of metabolic syndrome. The risk factors increase with the increase of screen-watching time.
Moreover eating snacks and watching T.V. – is not good for the heart, because it may lead to overeating or improper chewing, due to distraction. Even reading books, while eating is also considered as another form of distraction. Overeating and eating with improper chewing may lead to risk factors for heart diseases.
As per psychologist Susan Albers. PsyD- ” It’s fine to sometimes have a snack in front of T.V. but when it becomes the repeated pattern, or when eating and watching T.V. become cognitively linked, then it becomes an unhealthy pattern.”
Eating and watching electronic screens- This leads to distracted eating.
Eating in front of electronic screens may lead to distractions in eating. There are more chances that you may be paying more attention to what is happening on the screen than your food, leading to distracted eating. It makes your food less satisfying. Distracted eating may lead to overeating. For more reading- What are the adverse effects of smartphones? <<= Click here.
As per studies, it was found that we tend to eat more with distractions like watching electronic screens. Which may lead to obesity- A risk factor for heart disease. For more reading- What are the preventive risk factors for heart disease? <<= Click here.
“If your show is an hour-long, you might continue to eat throughout that time period.” Dr. Albers says.
How to stop eating snacks and watching T.V.?
Following are the few suggestions, that may help to avoid eating snacks and watching T.V.
Eat before watching T.V.;- Eating and watching T.V. may lead to ignoring our body cues- That your stomach is full. Thus eating before watching your favorite programs may help you to avoid- indulging in overeating.
Mindful eating:- Eating food with a focused mind helps us avoid overeating. The added advantage of experiencing food at its full capacity is the colors, textures, smells, taste, and flavors. This helps in digestion also.
Utilize commercial breaks:- Do some of your works during commercial breaks. It may help to avoid overeating.
Take the portion of your food out:- Before sitting in front of the T.V. Take the portion of your diet on your plate.
Eat slowly:- It takes around 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Eating slowly provides sufficient time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. The feeling of fullness prevents overeating.
Eat less than required:- Stop eating before the feeling of fullness to avoid overeating.
Eat a healthy diet:- Avoid consuming an unhealthy diet, containing trans fats. Choose a diet containing fiber, wholegrain with protein, and healthy fats like- olive, canola, sunflower oils, nuts, seeds, and fish. For more reading- Fats are the most important part of our food. <<= Click here.
“The take-home message is limiting your screen time is important, but when it is not possible, avoiding snack consumption may help you to reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome,” said lead researcher Beatriz Schaan.
Wishing all a healthy disease-free life.
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