How Watching Sports Can Influence Your Eating Habits

Do you find yourself reaching for a snack after watching a sports event on TV? Research shows that physical exercise often leads to increased food consumption. However, a new study has found that watching sports videos can also have a significant impact on how much we eat. The research, co-authored by Jannine Lasaleta, revealed that watching sports videos can increase candy consumption. But what is even more interesting is that the difficulty level of the sport being watched plays a crucial role in determining the effects on candy intake.

The initial experiment conducted by the researchers involved inviting 112 students to watch videos either with or without physical activity and then testing their candy consumption. The results showed that students who watched sports videos ate more candy than those who watched videos without physical activity. However, a gender disparity was also observed, with male students consuming significantly more candy than female students. This raised questions about whether the type of sport being watched has an impact on candy intake.

To further explore the relationship between sports videos and candy consumption, the researchers conducted a second experiment involving female students watching videos of either easy-to-perform sports or difficult sports. The results revealed that students who watched videos of easy sports consumed significantly more candy than those who watched videos of difficult sports. This indicates that the ease or difficulty of the exercise shown has a substantial impact on candy consumption.

The researchers delved into research on goal motivation to explain their findings. They found that when individuals feel they are not meeting a goal, they tend to push harder. However, once they perceive progress, they may ease up on their efforts. This can lead to a drop in motivation related to healthy eating goals. Achieving smaller goals, such as completing a workout, can give people the perception that they have earned a break, leading to indulging more in food. This could explain why watching easy-to-perform sports leads to higher candy intake.

The study has implications for policymakers and marketers looking to promote healthy lifestyles. It suggests that picturing physical activity as too easy can give people a false sense of achievement, leading to increased food consumption. A possible solution proposed by the researchers is to show a combination of easy and tough exercises to motivate people to start with basic activities while acknowledging the challenges ahead. This approach aims to promote physical activity without creating a premature sense of accomplishment.

Being mindful of how watching sports can influence your eating habits is crucial. If you are looking to maintain a healthy diet, opt for watching more challenging sports to resist overindulging in snacks. Additionally, when setting dieting goals, remember that real progress comes from consistent effort, not just imagining yourself doing a workout. Engage in activities that genuinely challenge you and pair them with mindful eating habits to avoid succumbing to the temptation of premature accomplishment and excessive food intake.

Science

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