Watch Fewer Food Ads For Less Couch Snacking

You're smart enough to know that take-out pizza doesn't look as good as on TV. Same with the chips, the candy bars and ice cream. But your stomach might disagree, and lead you to eat more when you're channel surfing.

As anyone who's watched television for 10 minutes knows, junk food is everywhere. Children and adults alike, according to a recent Yale University study, eat when they're not hungry when gloriously bad-for-you foods are displayed:

One test found that children aged 7 to 11 who watched a half-hour cartoon that included food commercials ate 45 percent more snack food while watching the show than children who watched the same cartoon with non-food commercials.

... In another experiment, adults who saw TV ads for unhealthy foods ate much more than those who saw ads that featured messages about good nutrition or healthy food.

How does one fight "automatic eating?" Being sure to skip the commercials—TiVo forwarding or walking away for a minute should do the trick. If snacking is something you're doing because you actually get hungry at TV time, try eating one substantial snack instead of lots of little bits.

Not convinced skipping the commercials can fight the snacking urge? Got a better way to keep away from cravings? Tell us your trick in the comments.

TV Ads Trigger Mindless Eating [US News and World Report]


    all this talk about junk food is making crave a load of pizza and icecream... :-P

    I have another idea if you really can't stop yourself from snacking - don't keep unhealthy snacks in the house! If they're not there, you can't eat them, and if you're anything like me, you won't bother leaving the house to go find them on an advert-prompted whim, you'll settle for some toast or a piece of fruit, or whatever else is handy and easy (keep lots of nice fruit around, it helps).

    Works for kids too apparently - I've spoken to a few parents who "get healthy stuff into the kids" by chopping up a whole load of fruit & veg (veg like carrots) into snack-size pieces and putting it on a big platter in front of the kids whilst they're zoning out with the telly (optional extra if you feel the need to pretend to be Nigella: arrange it all into smiley faces or whatever). Because it's there in front of them, nice and easy, the kids happily snack right through it.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now