Enjoying a meal without looking at your cell phone? Some worry about missing something. Be it general news or messages from friends via any of the social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc. But the reverse is true: you’re missing out on a healthy feast. Because if you’re always looking at your phone while you’re eating, your taste buds dwindle. You taste less of what you eat because your senses are focused on your phone. At the same time, the perception of the pleasures of the palate is pushed into the background. The brain hardly pays any attention to them. And soon after, you will feel hungry again. You enjoy delicious food when your cell phone is a few feet away. According to one study, participants without smartphones enjoyed dinner much more. Study participants with cell phones enjoyed their food less.
That’s because the cell phone is considered an emotional stressor. Cell phone users reach for their smartphones incessantly. Inner restlessness pushes the stress hormone ‘cortisol’. It increases immensely when you have your cell phone close to you. It drives up your pulse. It thinks you need to prepare for fight or flight. This physiological process dates back to archaic times, when it was all about hunting prey and fending off danger so as not to become prey yourself. Blood pressure is cranked up. Stress is produced in us as a result, since an incoming message gives us the feeling of having to react to it immediately. At some point, the elevated cortisol level will be a chronic one. Diseases could follow from it, for example, adult-onset diabetes-II. There is a risk of stroke or heart attack if this stress factor is ubiquitously elevated. Thus, cell phones are a detail that provokes higher stress.
Our brain also suffers from high stress levels. In the long term, this stress damages, or at least impairs, the area of the brain that is responsible for planning and solving problems. As a result, sufferers may experience mental problems in this regard.
By the way: Even those who don’t want to gain weight – or even lose weight – should also put their cell phones far away from them during meals. According to one study, participants who were distracted by their smartphones while eating consumed an average of 15% more calories than those who did not have a cell phone and ate their meals with relish.
Try training your brain to not succumb to stressors. One training idea would be to possibly remove some apps from the smartphone. But best of all, make it a rule to keep your phone turned off while eating.