The Surprising Reason You Shouldn't Stand While Eating

You probably sit down while you eat (most of the time, anyway), but there are likely times you scarf your food while standing, whether you're headed out the door, at a gathering, or have other things going on that require you to pace around. While it's sometimes easier to just grab your breakfast and go, recent research out of the University of South Florida and published in the Journal of Consumer Research notes that you probably should park yourself in a seat while you eat. Here's why. 

The study, as reported by Martha Stewart, found that how participants ate their food had a big impact on how much they enjoyed their meal, as well as how much food they actually consumed. The 358 participants took part in a taste test where some rooms had chairs at the table, while others had no chairs at all. They were asked to rate how they felt, both physically and psychologically, and those who ate while sitting loved their food way more than those who noshed while standing up.

They researchers didn't stop there, though. They offered some — well — odd foods, such as brownies that had far too much salt in them, and those who were standing up thought they were way worse than did those in a seated position. 

The researchers suggested that the balancing act required for a human being to remain upright is significant enough to distract someone from fully enjoying their meals. When you think about it, your feet and ankles are responsible for keeping your body standing, along with dozens of other joints, muscles, and other tissues, and it really is a lot of work to maintain the position — apparently enough to affect how your food tastes. 

The study did find that those who stood up while eating tended to eat less food than their seated peers, and noted this might be a strategy for those who are interested in portion control, though that could ultimately backfire if you aren't careful.