Multi-tasking with electronic devices, such as our smart phones or computers, has become common behavior in everyday life, and increasingly occurs during consumption of food. Such “distracted eating” has been shown to cause overeating, is associated with increased BMI, and with increased choices of palatable foods. However, it is unclear how distraction increases food intake.
Mechanisms that help to control food intake are important for maintaining a healthy weight. Cephalic Phase Responses (CPRs) are considered to be the first phase of digestion and include physiological responses to food-related cues such as the thought, smell, sight, and taste of food.
Greater oro-sensory exposure (OSE) increases insulin responsiveness. In contrast, pancreatic polypeptide responses are stronger when OSE is reduced and the eating rate (ER) is fast. Insulin and PP responses may mediate the independent effects of OSE and ER on food intake. These may be beneficial eating strategies, particularly for type 2 diabetic patients, to control food intake and maintain glucose homeostasis.
Eating when distracted is associated with increased food consumption and is a risk for becoming overweight. Project ‘Satiation’ found that distraction-induced decreases in neural taste processing contribute to individual differences in the susceptibility for overeating. Being mindful about the taste of food during consumption could perhaps be part of successful prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity.
Oro-sensory exposure duration and taste intensity were manipulated using model foods. In this Project ‘Satiation’ study, increased oro-sensory exposure duration decreased meal size, and increased taste intensity did not affect meal size. Microstructure of eating behavior characteristics may explain differences in intake.