It’s okay to eat while standing, or more diet advice debunked

I’ve known the standard advice for almost all of my life. It’s practically one of the ten commandments of dieting. Eat at the table. Make an occasion of it. Don’t read or watch television. Pay attention to your food. Eating while standing is bad news.

Grade six me heard that advice from a weight watchers leader and decades later I heard the same advice from a nutrition counseling program.

It’s one of the few rules adhered to and recommended by extreme diet culture and by those who advocate mindful/intuitive eating. Anything that that many people agree on must be right, right?

Here it is again in article called the habits that keep you fat.

Number one is eating while standing.

FAT HABIT: You eat while standing up.
Studies show that people who skip sit-down meals in the interest of saving time may be costing themselves unwanted calories. Canadian researchers asked one group of people to eat food out of plastic containers while standing over a kitchen counter, while a second group ate an identical meal off of a plate sitting down at a table.

At their next meal a few hours later, the “standers” downed about 30 percent more calories than the “sitters.” The researchers theorized that eating on your feet doesn’t register psychologically as a “real meal”, and as a result people may subconsciously grant themselves permission to eat more later in the day.
Pull up a chair and stay awhile. You’re more like to pace your eating when you pause to sit down and enjoy your food, and eating more slowly can translate to fewer calories, so get in the habit of eating meals only while seated at the table.

But what if it’s not true?

The Smithsonian magazine declared that it’s fine to eat standing up, though they were mostly interested in claims about indigestion.

Now Livestrong goes one step further recommending that we eat one meal a day on our feet.

Why? We spend far too much time during the day sitting.

Eat one meal a day while standing. Sitting during meals can add hours to your overall sitting time. Try eating breakfast at the kitchen counter, or look for a lunch spot with tall tables. Standing while eating does not mean that you have to eat quickly or make poor food choices. You can savor a meal while on your feet just as well as in a chair.

I’ve been trying it lately, setting a place at the kitchen counter, and I’m loving it. I can still eat slowly and focus on my food while standing. I don’t do it all the time. When we eat as a family we sit at the table but when I’m alone, I’m happy to stand.

Google image search for photos of people eating while standing, it’s almost all pizza! Or fat people eating take out. But here, finally I found an image of a woman happily eating salad while standing.

How about you? Do eat while standing? Feel guilty about it or do you embrace it?

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