A team from the University of Surry - led by food psychologist Professor Jane Ogden - recruited a small sample of 80 female students and fed them all a pasta dish containing the same number of calories.
They were then split into two groups; with the pasta either labelled as a ‘snack’ or a ‘meal.’ In addition, the women were asked to eat under two conditions: with the former standing up and using a plastic container and utensils and the latter sitting down with a ceramic plate and metal cutlery.
After this initial experiment, the participants were then presented with a variety of unhealthy snack foods, such as lollies, M&M’s and cheese and crackers.
It was found that the women who a.) ate standing up, and b.) consumed the foods labelled as ‘snacks,’ chowed down way more than their counterparts.
The takeaway? The grab-and-go nature of snacking means we are not as conscious of consumption as we are when we have a meal and overtime, this can drastically influence our waistlines.
“What we have found is that those who are consuming snacks are more likely to overeat as they may not realise or even remember what they have eaten,” Ogden explained in a statement.
“To overcome this, we should call our food a meal and eat it as a meal, helping make us more aware of what we are eating so that we don’t overeat later on.”
The study was first published in the journal Appetite.