Phones at the table help you eat less... but is it rude?
Is it OK to use your phone at the table if it helps you eat less?
Nutritionists at the University of Illinois have found that using technology while you eat can help you eat less than you would do without.
The research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that when 119 people played a video game whilst eating, they ate significantly less than they had done previously, with no game. The same meal, on different days, with very different reactions.
To make sure the people taking part where actually hungry, they fasted for 10 hours prior to taking part in the experiment, each time. So it's unlikely that their level of hunger was the issue. Scientists believe that the distraction meant they only ate what they absolutely needed to feel satisfied, rather than taking in more just because it was there.
The game was the ultimate in distraction techniques, something that needed real focus – so that if you were trying to do something else (like... eating) you would have to rely on autopilot. The game showed a series of numbers, one per second, and you had to press a button when three consecutive odd numbers appeared. Quite the distraction!
Those who did the task while eating also failed to recall how much they had eaten – and, in some cases, exactly what they had been eating, 30 minutes after the task.
The key to moderating our eating or just plain rude?
So, not to be a party pooper, but I was always told that it's rude to use your phone at the table. Or any sort of device that means your attention is elsewhere.
If you are having a meal with someone, you should engage with them and actually be in the room! It stayed with me and I can't do with people using their phone during meals.
So how does that fit in with the manners we have been taught? Is it time we reassess how we behave at meal times for the good of our health, or is this study interesting but just plain rude?
Is it OK to use your phone at dinner?