Why Eating In Front Of A Screen Isn't Good For You

It’s often advised against eating food while watching TV or scrolling through the phone

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahUpdated at: Dec 21, 2021 10:33 IST
Why Eating In Front Of A Screen Isn't Good For You

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You get back home after a long day at work, make your dinner, jump on the couch, switch on the TV or laptop, and start devouring whatever is there on your plate, while your eyes remain glued to the screen. Scenarios might be different but many of us share this habit. If you are one of them, chances are you might have heard from elders or read in magazines and newspapers how eating mechanically in front of the screen is the last thing you should do as far as eating is concerned. But why is that? What happens when you eat mindlessly with your eyes glued to the screen? And, what is the correct way of eating? To get answers to these questions, Onlymyhealth spoke to Sreemathy Venkatraman, a gut health practitioner & wellness nutritionist and the founder of ‘Mitha Aahara-Eat to Live’.

But before we delve into it, let’s deliberate upon why we have developed this habit in the first place. Firstly, you’ve got to admit that there is such satisfaction in eating while watching your favourite show. Also, when you just eat, your mind starts wandering left and right. Also, many develop this habit of eating while watching TV since childhood and it continues till adulthood and later in life.

Why You Should Avoid Having Meals In Front Of A Screen

Many eat their meals in front of a screen

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

Coming back to the sermon we all have been at the receiving end of that you shouldn’t have your meals while watching TV or scrolling through your phone. Here are the reasons why that advise might be right:

  • When you eat mechanically without paying attention to your food, its texture, taste, and aroma, there is a greater chance that you might overeat.
  • You tend to continue eating and finish without realising your body and brain’s signal that you are full.
  • Also, eating quickly without chewing well can lead to digestive issues such as bloating, indigestion, and bloating.

What Happens To Your Body When You Eat In Front Of A Screen?

You shouldn't watch TV while eating

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

To understand well the ill effects of this habit, you need to understand what happens in your body when you do it. When you eat your food while watching TV, or in front of your laptop or mobile:

  • You tend to overeat.
  • This overeating can make you gain weight.
  • You don’t feel satisfied. This is because your brain doesn’t register what you just ate and you start foraging for chips, chocolates, and ice creams in an hour or so.
  • You might have experienced while eating and watching TV together, you tend to get cravings for junk and sugary foods. These are calorie-dense and nutrient-deficit. This can easily make you gain weight without providing you with any health benefits.

So, as you can see, by eating you give your body the nourishment it needs, it’s better to keep it and watching TV apart.

Also read: Eat When Hungry, Understand Your Cravings: Expert Shares 8 Food Habits For Weight Loss

What Is The Correct Way Of Eating?

As now you know that eating while being in front of the screen isn’t the ideal way to have your meals. So, how should one eat? Here is what nutritionist Sreemathy Venkatraman has to say regarding this:

  • Eat slowly and chew well. Savour the taste, texture, and enjoy the aroma to fully appreciate the food.
  • Experts say that it takes around 20 minutes for the signal to reach from the body to the brain that you are full. Hence, when you eat slowly and chew your food well, it gives time for that signal to reach your brain, which prevents you from overeating. You also feel more satisfied and don’t go all around looking for junk food to feel more satiated.
  • Chewing well and savouring food makes you feel more satisfied & satiated. It also helps you realise when you are full. Thus, you tend to eat less.
  • Avoid water while eating. However, drink water after every major meal.
  • Be mindful while eating. This not just prevents overeating, but the food is also better digested, Sreemathy explained.

Thus, as you saw, your elders and those magazine articles were right about not mixing eating with catching up on your favourite shows. Food is intrinsic to survival. And it’s not just about ‘what’, but how you eat is also crucial. Hence, choose the right food, and have it mindfully for better satiety and health benefits.

(With inputs from Sreemathy Venkatraman, a gut health practitioner & wellness nutritionist and the founder of ‘Mitha Aahara-Eat to Live’)

Photo Credit: Freepik