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Prairie Fare: TV Ads May Prompt Overeating During Games

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Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist
Researchers have shown that adults who were exposed to TV advertisements for “unhealthy” foods ate significantly more of those foods.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

Let’s say your favorite football team just made a touchdown and the score is tied. A commercial interrupts your concentration. The food being advertised sounds pretty tasty, though. You wish you had some of that food right now.

You reach for a bowl of snacks on the coffee table. To your surprise, it’s already empty.

Yale University researchers have shown that adults who were exposed to TV advertisements for “unhealthy” foods ate significantly more of those foods. In fact, the adult participants in the study ate more of any food that was available when cued by TV food advertisements.

Unfortunately, ads promoting nutrition and healthful foods did not have the same effect.

Other researchers have shown that people who watch TV for two or more hours per day are more likely to be overweight. Sitting on a couch does not burn a lot of calories. When your mind is preoccupied, you may be munching more than you realize, too.

If part of your personal game plan is maintaining or losing weight, be aware of the energy equation. Consuming an additional 3,500 calories could result in a gain of one pound of body weight. Balancing extra calories with physical activity, however, allows you to maintain your weight.

If you were playing competitive football, you would burn about 612 calories per hour. If you are sitting on the couch being a spectator, you burn 68 calories per hour.

At a net input of 55 calories, you could have a cup of carrot sticks, a half cup of grapes or 1 cup of oil-popped popcorn. By choosing one of these snacks per hour, you could be taking in fewer calories than you are burning while sitting watching TV.

On the other hand, if you like cheese puffs, be aware that 1 ounce has about 160 calories. By having one serving per hour, you would be consuming 92 calories more than you were burning while sitting on the couch.

You could be adding a layer of insulation to your body for the winter depending on how many handfuls you crunch. An extra 100 calories per day can result in a 10-pound weight gain in a year.

This winter, as we tuck ourselves in the coziness of our living rooms and many people become TV sports spectators, consider these ways to keep your energy intake balanced by your energy output.

  • Drink plenty of water. Try alternating a caloric beverage (such as regular soda pop, beer or other beverage) with a glass of water.
  • Leave empty bottles, cans or cups in front of you so you can see how much has been consumed already.
  • Measure out a serving of the food into a bowl or on a plate instead of eating directly from the package.
  • Choose low-calorie snacks such as veggies and fruits.
  • Keep the remnants of foods, such as chicken wings, on a plate in front of you so you can see how much you have eaten. When the food is cleared away, you can lose track of how much you have had to eat or drink.
  • Get up during commercials and walk around your home or hop on the exercise equipment that may be in the room.

For more ideas and several healthful recipes to try, in moderation, during the big game, see “Your Game Plan: Healthful Snacking for Sports Fans” available at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1406.pdf.

Here’s a tasty recipe to enjoy during game day. It is adapted from a recipe courtesy of the Northarvest Bean Growers.

White Chili

4 (15- to 16-ounce) cans great northern beans

1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey (or 3 c. chopped, roasted turkey)

2 tsp. garlic powder or fresh minced garlic

2 medium onions, chopped

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. ground cumin (or to taste)

1 (4-ounce.) can medium or hot green chili peppers

4 ounces reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Brown ground turkey and drain fat. (Alternatively, use chopped, roasted turkey.) Combine in a slow cooker the beans and liquid, ground turkey, garlic, onion, pepper, cumin and chili peppers. Stir, cover and cook on low for three to 10 hours. Taste test and add more chili peppers 1 tablespoon at a time for a hotter taste. Ladle chili into soup bowls and top with shredded cheese.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 429 calories, 9 grams (g) of fat, 52 g of carbohydrate, 37 g of protein, 12 g of fiber and 250 milligrams of sodium.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)


NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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