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Action Movies Encourage Charged-Up Viewers to Overeat

People watching action flicks ate nearly twice as much as those viewing a talk show

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smithsonian.com

Action movies are said to keep viewers on the edge of their seat, but according to new research, they also encourage the munchies. The nervous energy such films and shows produce, the team finds, apparently also encourages mindless eating. 

Researchers from Cornell University put viewers' appetites to the test under a variety of scenarios. They showed them either clips from the 2005 action movie The Island or clips from a talk show, "The Charlie Rose Show," CBS News describes. Some of the 20-minute clips were shown at normal volume, and some were muted. The researchers laid out a spread of M&Ms, cookies, carrots and grapes that viewers could enjoy while watching the clips. 

People who watched The Island ate more than 200 grams of food, CBS News writes, compared to people who watched the talk show and ate just over 100 grams of food. That translated into about 355 calories for the action-watchers, and 215 for the talk show ones. This tendency held true even when the clips were silenced: participants still ate 36 percent more when they watched the muted action film, CBS News reports.  

The face pace of action movies, the researchers told CBS News, likely distracts people from the fact that they are gobbling down snacks. To avoid consuming more than you intended when queuing up the latest Netflix release in the action category, the team recommends bringing only those snacks you intend to consume to the couch—rather than the whole bag or box. Alternatively, action movies could be a good opportunity for getting your fix of healthy foods, the team told CBS news, since carrots as well as cookies are subject to binging. 

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