Studies show that your attention is likely to be distracted if you eat while playing with your phone. VCG
A spoonful of pickles can sometimes make a meal taste way better. Recently, a new type of pickle is being discussed: “digital pickled vegetables”. It refers to the videos people watch while eating that make their food more appetizing.
The topic received more than 16 million clicks on Sina Weibo and about 100,000 people participated in the discussion. Instead of being accompanied by friends and family during a meal, many young people in China are kept company by TV shows or short videos. Many believe that their food is tastier with the “digital pickles”.
Can this habit affect your diet? According to a research paper published in 2019, you may eat more unconsciously. The international research team asked 62 volunteers to follow different eating patterns on four different days. The patterns included eating while looking at the mobile phone, reading magazines and without distraction. After analyzing their diets, the team discovered that eating with a distraction increased caloric ingestion by about 15 percent.
To explore the reason, the team also invited two groups of people: one group ate while listening to an audio clip about another person eating and the other listened to a clip that helped them imagine themselves eating. The results showed that the second group ate less since they were more focused on their meals. When eating with the “digital pickles”, our attention can be distracted, which leads to eating more than expected.
This works not only for eating meals but other demanding tasks as well. A research project led by the University of Sussex, UK, pointed out that activities which require lots of attention trick many participants into overeating. The team invited 120 participants to do various tasks while providing them with drinks and snacks. “Our study suggests that if you’re eating or drinking while your attention is distracted by a highly engaging task, you’re less likely to be able to tell how full you feel,” one of the authors Martin Yeomans explained.