Last month, we were alerted to the scientific finding that sitting perfectly still while watching hours upon hours of television could lead to an early death, depriving you of so many golden years of being shamed by scientific studies. Now a new scientific study suggests that this early death could be hastened along by a correlative effect. People who become engrossed in their favorite shows also tend to eat more snacks, thus making them fatter and unhealthier, and far too sated and sleepy to hear the scientists standing over their couch, demanding that they turn the TV off and go outside. “According to our data, it’s such a nice day outside,” these scientists say.
In the study published in the International Journal Of God You’re Disgusting, 120 young adults aged 18 to 35 were invited to spend an hour watching Netflix or playing video games, while a spread of potato chips, chocolate, trail mix, and sodas were laid out before them. Taking a break from giving heroin to junkies to see if maybe they’d use it, the scientists watched to see whether these subjects—who were provided with a “comfortable chair” in a “dim room,” and a big-screen TV on which to watch commercial-free entertainment—might also avail themselves of the unlimited snack buffet. They did, and then the scientists wrote an alarmist study about it, proving the hypothesis that scientists are dicks.
But while the correlation between watching and snacking is so obvious, even most researchers can’t get away with publishing a paper on it, the real finding was that the better the respondents thought their show was, the more they apparently ate. Titled “The Better The Story, The Bigger The Serving,” the study declared that those who reported feeling “transported by” a program also “transported” their hands again and again to the feedbag—consuming more high-calorie food, regardless of whether they’d been found beforehand to have higher “immersive tendencies.” The conclusion: The distraction of really good television makes it easy to ignore the bodily effects of the food you keep shoveling, so you keep on doing it. Also, having lots of trail mix around is never a good idea.
However, there is one healthier alternative to, from now on, only watching True Blood and vomiting. It seems the group that chose to play video games actually ate less, presumably because they were too occupied with the controllers. So all you have to do to avoid gorging yourself while watching television is to find a way to keep your hands busy, such as greeting medical studies about how TV is killing you with dismissive wanking motions.