Video Games Make You Gluttonous

Teenaged boys ate 89 calories more after playing video games for an hour than when they rested for an hour, the study found. Blood tests even showed that they didn’t have higher levels of hunger hormones after playing, proving that they weren’t eating because their appetites were stoked.

The culprit: They had higher blood pressure and heart rates, suggesting that they were under more stress. “Both teenagers and adults consume more calories when we’re under mild stress,” says Jean-Philippe Chaput, Ph.D., professor at the University of Ottawa, and lead author of the study. “When we’re doing mental work—like playing video games—food is like a reward for the brain.”

This really adds up if you’re playing for more than an hour. “We expect that gamers would eat more the longer they play,” says Chaput. “And of course, this would be even worse if they’re eating and playing at the same time.”

But there’s no need to give up gaming entirely. Just make sure to strike a balance, says Chaput. “If you live an active lifestyle—and don’t play video games all day—you could burn off the extra calories,” he says. “But if you’re playing all day, you’re probably eating more and not exercising.”

Even better? Play active games, he says. Try this Game That Gets You Moving and read about one man’s Video Game Workout.

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