According to a recent study by Canadian researchers, playing video games actually makes people eat more food, even if they aren’t hungry.
During the study, 22 young male subjects sat for an hour in comfortable chairs and then ate lunch. On separate occasions, they played video games and then ate lunch.
Interestingly enough, gaming prompted the teens to consume 80 more calories at lunch.
After eating lunch, scientists did a blood workup to see if the test subjects were indeed more hungry after gaming. Scientists found that there was no evidence that gaming actually made them hungrier.
"It's a worse story than just being a sedentary activity," said Dr. Chaput, a kinesiologist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario research institute.
"When we play video games, yes, we burn few calories, but we also eat more."
Scientists involved in the study theorize that food becomes a "reward" after gaming. Much like using a computer, the mental workout that goes along with gaming makes people want to eat more, not because they’re hungry, but because it’s a reward.
Dr. Chaput’s next project is determining individual eating habits after using Nintendo’s Wii, a system that actually requires players to get up and move.