All That Thinking Was Exhausting; Let's Eat

By Andrew Moseman
Sep 4, 2008 10:22 PMNov 5, 2019 8:45 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

There's more than driving-versus-walking or sitting-versus-standing that has North Americans getting fatter than ever. A study by Canadian researchers suggests that we're also more likely to stuff our faces after a longer period of mental exertion. The scientists studied 14 women doing three activities: sitting peacefully; reading and responding to a text; and taking a strenuous exam on a computer. After each exercise, the subjects were allowed to eat whatever they wanted from a buffet, not knowing that this was the true object of the study. The researchers say that the women ate many more calories—between 23 and 30 percent more—after the difficult test than they did after the more relaxing activities. Of course, this research had a small sample size, and college students might not be indicative of the eating habits of the nation as a whole. And as far as the scientists' suggestion that this could be one of the contributors to the obesity problem because so many people have mentally-demanding jobs: Perhaps that's true, but it's also possible that people find their work less stressful than taking a computerized test while being watched and studied. Still, it is awfully nice to pig out after a long day of thinking hard. Image: iStockphoto

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.