Action Movies can be Hazardous to your Health. Here is why

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Mar 03, 2015

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Quick Bites

  • What we watch affects what we eat.
  • Pacing has a role to play in what we eat.
  • The level of engagement decides the quantity we eat.
  • Mindless eating is triggered while watching action movies.

Popcorn with caramel and butter topping is an all time favourite companion while watching a movie on the big screen or even on a computer or television screen. But, while munching on your favourite snack during watching your favourite movie, did you ever wonder what the weird relation between your viewing and eating habits is?

In a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, whether what we watch impacts how we eat was studied.

Binge Eating Movie Watching6

The Difference in Snacks we Eat during Action Movies and Talk Shows

To find out whether we eat more while watching television, a study led by Aner Tal and Colleagues at Cornell University gathered 94 students and divided them into three groups. Each group was made to watch 20 minutes of television together. Each group was provided with large quantity of snacks of different nutritional values, like carrots, grapes, cookies, etc. Their choice of snacks was then observed.

While the first group was made to watch The Island for 20 minutes, the second group watched a talk show and the third group also watched The Island but sans the audio for the same amount of time.

In the remarkable findings, it was seen that participants who watched action flick The Island with sound consumed 98 percent more food thus, ate 65 percent more calories than people who watched the talk show.

Surprisingly, participants who watched The Island without sound ate 36 percent more food and consumed 46 percent more calories than the talk show viewers.
But the question still remains. Why do action movies make us overeat?

Binge Eating Movie Watching

Mindless vs. Mindful Eating: The Answer

As participants who watched the action movie without the sound ate more than people who watched the talk show, it was quite clear that it isn’t the sound of guns and bullets that triggers binge eating. So, what really does?

One of the prime aspects considered by the researchers was pacing. It was noted that The Island has almost 25 camera cuts per minute while the talk show had less than 5. While keeping pacing into consideration, Tal suspected that the main contributor could be the level of engagement. Due to their faster pace, action movies have more engagement and movies which have a higher level of engagement might trigger a phenomenon called mindless eating. This means that while we are too busy watching something, we don’t pay attention to what and how much we are eating, forming the base for mindless eating.

Watching television is an important part of our routine. So, introducing some changes in our eating habits will bring some changes to our viewing habits, leading to a healthy diet.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Healthy Eating.

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