Fans of this type of movie might want to be a little extra mindful of their snacking habits. (Photo: Flickr/allisonmseward12)
You’re more likely to ravage that popcorn bag if you’re watching a sad movie than if you’re watching a comedy, according to new research.
Researchers from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University found that people ate 22 percent fewer grams of food when they were watching the comedy “Sweet Home Alabama,” than when they watched “Love Story,” a much sadder film.
Similarly, people ate 35 percent fewer grams of food when they watched the comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” than when they watched “Solaris,” another sad film.
The findings are published as a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine, in reference to a previous study in the same journal by the authors, which showed that more calories are consumed when watching action movies than slower-paced news shows.
“These results corroborate that it is the emotional impact of a comedic clip that led to reduced eating, compared with our action movie, which led to increased eating,” the researchers write in the research letter. “Emotional impact might crucially moderate eating, with stress increasing consumption and positive reaction decreasing it. From this perspective, emotional movies can lead to emotional eating.”
For the study, the researchers put snacks within arms’ reach of the study participants so that they would be sure to chow down.
“People watching either action films or comedy may not want to leave their seat and potentially miss a good scene,” the study said. “Conversely, with slow-paced shows like documentaries, interviews, and news programs, people may be willing to leave the program to obtain more snacks. This makes the close physical availability of snacks a crucial variable.”
Therefore, the researchers said, it may be easier to curb extra calorie consumption while watching TV and movies by moving snacks out of close proximity (because really, who would suggest stopping watching sad movies or action movies to curb eating?).