Remove the distractions that lead to mindless eating to stop overeating and lose weight

Research on Mindless Eating Offers New Insight into Obesity

Eating while distracted can lead to overeating and weight gain

Research presented by Dr. Marion Hetherington at the 2011 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo about multitasking and mindless eating provided proof that weight gain isn’t just about what you eat, but how you eat.

Dr. Hetherington explained that “satiation” is the sensation that lets us know when to end a meal or stop eating. “Satiety” describes what we feel after eating that tells us we’re satisfied, but not stuffed. Hunger is the signal that it’s time to eat again. Being able to detect each of these physical conditions has strong cognitive component.

Or simply put, we must pay attention when eating so our mind can process all of the signals that our body receives through sight, smell, taste and touch, in addition to the barrage of gastrointestinal signals transmitted with each bite.

According to Dr. Hetherington, several studies show that if you eat while doing other things, such as watching TV, reading or even talking, you can end up overeating. Appetite regulation is also affected by the amount of food available, such as large servings or buffets, even if the food doesn’t taste that good.

Based on this emerging research, a new direction for treating weight gain and obesity has evolved that focuses on the act of eating. Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD explained how Intuitive Eating, an approach she helped pioneer, allows people develop a healthy relationship with food and their own body.

Intuitive Eating is based on 10 principles which begin with rejecting the diet mentality and all the externalized rules for “dieting” that go with it. In this way the physical cues of hunger and satiety can begin to guide eating.

Ms. Tribole described “eating amnesia” as what occurs when you eat while distracted. She went on to explain that eating intuitively requires being aware of the food in front of you, as well as your emotions and body sensations.

The benefits of overcoming mindless eating and eating more intuitively go far beyond weight control according to both speakers. Practitioners gain a whole new appreciation for how to live in their own bodies and more accurately interpret their other needs, feelings and thoughts unrelated to food.

Given the abysmal results of most weight loss diets and the constantly changing food landscape, it makes sense to redirect your attention to how you eat, instead of what, if you want to lose weight. Why not shut down all the electronics and other distractions at your next meal and see how it feels?

World’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals changes name after nearly 100 years

Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo Presents Cutting Edge Research to Over 6000 Nutrition Professionals

Dietitians attending Food & Nutrition Conference come away with new identity

I just returned from the 2011 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) where I spent four days attending presentations on the latest research in food and nutrition science, networking with professional colleagues and learning about new products in the marketplace. I have attended every one of these annual gatherings of registered dietitians and other nutrition professionals since 1974 and am always rewarded with cutting edge information and insight.

I am going to share some highlights from this year’s sessions in my next three blogs. One will be devoted to the best new products I discovered on the exhibit floor and another will be about the most interesting nutrition research studies presented. But in this blog I am going to share with you what was for me the biggest news of all.

The president of the American Dietetic Association announced at the Opening Session of FNCE 2011 that the Association was officially changing its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!

The former ADA was founded in 1917 with the mission to help the government conserve food and improve the public’s health and nutrition during World War I. Since that time it has grown to be the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals with 72,000 members working in schools, hospitals, athletic programs, food services, public health centers, grocery stores and many other settings where people eat, make food decisions and need nutrition guidance.

The decision to change the name to the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics (AND) reflects the strong science background of the members since an academy is a society of learned persons organized to advance science. The inclusion of the term nutrition underscores the focus on wellness, prevention and treatment through better food and nutrition choices.

The word dietetics was retained in the new name because it continues to reflect the title of most of the members, whether a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR). These titles are earned by meeting and maintaining the standards for certification and credentialing of Commission on Dietetic Registration.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will have the same mission as the former American Dietetic Association, and that is to protect and advance the nutritional well-being of the public. To find out more about the former ADA/new AND, or to find a Registered Dietitian who can help you, go to