Eating in front of the television screen: Why it’s really not a good idea

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Eating in front of a screen is a bad habit that takes a toll on our bodies and health.

Who doesn’t like to eat while he or she is watching something on their TV, laptop or phone (where it is arguable whether the dark mode is handy)? This practice is widespread in many countries, but it has many harmful effects on our bodies, some of which we would not have suspected.

Eating in front of the screen is a growing trend
Many people eat in front of a screen. A HelloFresh survey conducted in January 2022 found that 35.8% of UK families eat dinner in front of the TV, of which 28.9% eat as a family and 6.9% eat alone.

The reason? The desire to relax, to finish watching the episode of a series started the day before, or the need to work. The massive use of the home office, which is not necessarily good for our eyes, and isolation due to health limitations have contributed to this trend.

The problem with this? This practice is far from harmless; in fact, it’s terrible for our health, according to nutritionist Camille Le Queré in an interview with Marie Claire magazine.

When we eat in front of a screen – be it a TV, a computer or a phone – we are inevitably much less focused on our food intake.
When our attention is focused more on what is happening on the screen than on our plates, our brains cannot register the information we eat. This has a direct impact on satisfaction but also on the amount of food we eat. Naturally, we then eat much more.

We eat more than we need because we erase the perception of the pleasure that the food provides.

The other consequence is the absence of the feeling of satiety. If our brain doesn’t realize it has been fed, we may find ourselves hungry again barely an hour after the meal. We all know the escalation of untimely snacking and junk food (some chains get their clientele by creating new menus repeatedly) that follows.

Eating before a screen affects digestion because we eat faster and chew less.
However, insufficiently chewed food means that it is not sufficiently broken down in the stomach, which requires more effort from our digestive system.

In addition, the posture in which we sit on the sofa (generally, we sit slumped, we do not lie down) does not promote digestion, which is unsuitable for our poor stomachs. Also, the increased speed we eat can lead to disorders such as flatulence and acid reflux.

Relearn to eat consciously.
Therefore, making eating a social moment and consciously eating is highly recommended. After one month in 2023, it may be time to learn to eat correctly again. That’s a good resolution for this year, even if we’re only slightly over a month in.

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