I Think, Therefore I am… Fatter?

guy eating donut and getting fatter

thinkingThat is basically what a Canadian research team recently discovered. The results were published in a recent issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

The research team recruited a group of students and measured their spontaneous food intake after completing three tasks: relaxing in a sitting position, reading and summarizing a text, and completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer. After 45 minutes at each activity, participants were invited to eat as much as they wanted from a buffet.

They determined that each session of intellectual work required only three more calories than the rest period. Despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests.

Blood samples taken before, during, and after each session revealed that intellectual work causes much bigger fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels than rest periods. Jean-Philippe Chaput, the study’s main author stated “Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact that we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialized countries, he further concluded that this is a factor that should not be ignored, considering that more and more people hold jobs of an intellectual nature.

As I sit here and think about it the more I am craving a snack. You may not believe this but I just checked my blood sugar and it is up from what it was earlier and I have not eaten recently. I guess that means that it’s possible that all this increased thinking while sitting is helping make us fatter.

So maybe I won’t get rid of the Treadmill to gain space after all!