A new research has found that eating while watching TV can cause hunger later on, which could make one more likely to indulge in late-night snacks.
The study conducted on young women found that those who ate while watching television packed away more calories later in the day, reports the Daily Mail .
It is thought that being able to remember what we have eaten is key to feeling full. And if distractions stop us from forming those memories, we eat more later on.
Researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney looked at the effect of TV viewing on a group of young women of normal weight.
They were given 20 minutes to consume as much chocolate, crisps and cola as they wanted. Half ate the junk food while watching TV, the others sat quietly as they ate their fill.
Later on, both groups were sat down to eat sandwiches, biscuits, crackers and dip.
Those who had watched TV earlier packed away 50 per cent more calories than the other women.
When the women were then asked how much they had eaten at the start of the experiment, those who had not been watching TV were better at remembering.
This, say the researchers, could help explain the results, with an accurate memory of what we have eaten crucial to feeling full.
"It may be that TV makes it harder to attend to interceptive signals, harder to attend to how much is being eaten, harder to consolidate memories of food intake and harder to recall them during a meal," the authors said.
The findings were reported in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology .