You may already know that spending hours in front of the television on a regular basis can lead to potential weight gain and setbacks with weight loss. Plus, television is considered a sedentary activity, which can increase your risk for major health problems, including early death. While television can be a great way to relax after a hard day’s work, it’s great to keep tube time to a minimum.
However, new research is showing that the types of shows and movies you watch could also be contributing to weight gain, even if you do keep your viewing time to a minimum.
According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, people who watch sad, emotional movies are more prone to engaging in emotional eating. For the study, researchers took a look at the amount of popcorn being consumed by moviegoers who watched the sad, tragic movie Love Story compared to those who watched Sweet Home Alabama, a romantic comedy. Even though Sweet Home Alabama is about 10 minutes shorter than Love Story, the individuals who watched Love Story consumed about 28 percent more popcorn than those who watched Sweet Home Alabama.
On a separate occasion, researchers went dumpster diving for popcorn boxes at various movie theaters across the US and found that those who watched the sad movie Solaris ate about 55 percent more popcorn than those who watched the funny, uplifting My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
JAMA study co-author Aner Tal, PhD, concludes that distress in general increases food consumption and leads to overeating, whether in real life or as a result of watching movies. In addition to sad movies, action movies were also found to trigger overeating since the fast-paced action can lead to distraction sans the mindful eating.
The solution? If you plan on watching sad or action-packed movies, be aware of the impact these movies can have on your waistline. Take time before the movie to portion out healthy snacks, and limit your intake of fattening, buttery, salty popcorn, candy bars, and sodas.