You probably already knew that watching tv increases hunger (thanks to commercials) and contributes to body image problems (thanks to stars’ perfect bodies), but here’s a doozie: watching tv suppresses your metabolism below it’s basal rate!
Researchers recently measured the calorie burn associated with watching tv versus reading. In both cases, the subjects were reclining and completely inactive. It was assumed that the calorie burn for both activities would be the same as resting metabolism.
The readers’ metabolisms stayed at the basal level, as expected, but get this: Television watchers actually had their metabolisms go down by up to 16%! That’s enough to pack on a few pounds per year for the average viewer.
The lower metabolism is thought to be caused by our brains shutting down during tv. Under normal circumstances, a brain burns a lot of calories throughout the day–about 450–but apparently only if you keep it engaged.
The takeaway message: Now you really can’t justify munching on snacks while watching tv. How about some ab crunches instead?