For those who can’t break a television and snack habit, the trick might be to watch Charlie Rose’s interview program rather than action movies. A new study from Cornell University found that students who watched the 2005 action movie “The Island” on television ate 65 percent more calories (354) than those who watched Charlie Rose (215 calories). The participants who watched "The Island" also consumed nearly twice as much food – 7.3 ounces v. 3.7 ounces - compared to the Charlie Rose crowd. Another group of students assigned to watch “The Island,” but without sound, ate 46 percent more calories than those who watched Charlie Rose, and consumed five ounces of food compared to the 3.7 ounces eaten by those who watched the Rose show. Study leader Aner Tal revealed that the students who watched “The Island” (with sound) ate the most food by weight because they were snacking on baby carrots, which weigh more than, say, popcorn. Tal said that he thinks the students ate more while watching the action movie because they kept pace with the tempo of the film. The not-so-scientific message here may be that if you want to cut the calories you consume while watching TV, stick with slower-paced and more cerebral offerings rather than action-adventure movies or TV shows.
Aner Tal et al, “Watch What You Eat Television Action-Related Content Increases Food Intake.” JAMA Internal Medicine doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4098