There’s evidence to suggest that eating while standing up leads to excess calorie consumption. But as long as you take your time and remain cognizant of how much you’re eating, standing for your meals is not that bad for you.
Many of us give considerable thought to the food we eat, and the frequency with which it is consumed. However, fewer of us stop to think about the way we are actually eating—are we seated comfortably at the kitchen table for dinner or standing in the break room grabbing a quick bite between meetings?
Does it really make a difference? Or could eating standing up bad for you?
Back in 2011, USA Today ran a story stating that eating while standing could actually lead to excess calorie consumption. In the study, those who ate while standing consumed about 30 percent more calories than those who were seated. Researchers theorized that “standers” were not psychologically registering the food as an actual meal. Generally, it takes the brain about 20 minutes to receive and interpret signals from the stomach indicating that it’s full. And since they were standing, these participants were inclined to eat faster rather than to slow down and savor, which led to mild indigestion and overeating.
And of course, overeating leads to weight gain. Eating just one meal standing up probably won’t make a huge difference. But if you frequently go over your daily recommended calories, packing on a few extra pounds here and there can easily give way to obesity. And obesity is no joke—it can cause other serious (and potentially even life-threatening) health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and more.
However, on the plus side, standing while eating requires more physical exertion than sitting. In fact, you can burn up to 50 extra calories each hour just by standing, as opposed to remaining seated. It might not seem like much, but all that extra energy expended really adds up over time.
Both sides have their perks and pitfalls. If you eat while sitting, you’re less active... but likely to consume less calories. And if you eat while standing, the opposite holds true. So what’s the best way to eat your food?
It’s probably safest to be more active throughout your day—take the stairs instead of the elevator, for instance—but stay seated when it comes to your meals. However, just because you are sitting down doesn’t mean you will automatically eat less. Remember: it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. It’s your responsibility to pay attention to your pace as well as the amount of food you’re consuming.
Possible short-term side effects
- indigestion (from eating too fast)
Possible long-term side effects
- weight gain
- faster/more convenient
- burns additional calories