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Is lunching while you work making you fat?

Look around just about any office building in the UK at lunchtime and you'll no doubt spot more than a few people scoffing down a sandwich while shopping online, playing computer games or getting ahead of their work deadlines. Admit it, we've all done it, despite all the advice to get a break from our screens.

Eating at your desk could make you fatEating a sandwich away from your desk could help you feel fuller. Photo: Flickr, rainydayknitter

Now there's another good reason why we should stand up and walk away from our desks when it's time for lunch. Eating at your computer could make you feel less full and want to eat more, say University of Bristol experts. That's because when you eat while doing something else - like using a computer or watching TV - you're so distracted you can barely remember eating.

But memory and appetite may be linked, say the researchers. So if you don't remember eating, you may feel hungry again soon afterwards. In other words eating lunch at your computer could be making you fat because you're more likely to snack throughout the afternoon.

The researchers, whose study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, observed 44 volunteers who all ate the same lunch. Some played computer games while they ate, while others ate without distractions.

Half an hour later the researchers gave the volunteers biscuits. And on average, those who had played computer games while eating their lunch ate around 250 calories worth of biscuits. The others, however, ate around half that much.

Not just that, but the computer game-playing group also claimed they felt less full after eating lunch than the distraction-free eaters.

Why not try having a few distraction-free lunches and see if you feel fuller afterwards? Let us know how you get on.

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