Smartphone use while eating increases caloric ingestion

Physiol Behav. 2019 May 15:204:93-99. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.02.021. Epub 2019 Feb 15.


The use of smartphones during meals may possibly influence the number of ingested calories. We evaluated the influence of smartphones' distraction during eating on caloric intake. Physical (masticatory parameters, sex and body mass index - BMI); environmental (with or without distraction) and psychological (stress levels) variables were evaluated as confounding factors. Sixty-two adults were recruited for experimental snack tests performed on four different days. At baseline, we evaluated masticatory performance, swallowing threshold, masticatory frequency and body mass index (BMI). In the following three sessions, volunteers were presented a snack test in which participants ate under three experimental conditions: no distraction, using their smartphones, or reading a printed text. At the end of each session, total and nutritional compound stratified caloric intake was measured. Three-way mixed model ANOVA was used to test the effect of experimental condition on the total, carbohydrate and lipid caloric intakes. Hierarchical multiple linear regression models were used to estimate the influence of confounding factors on the total caloric intake. We found an effect of the condition (no distraction, smartphone or reading) on the total caloric (p = .007) and lipid intake (p = .002). When eating without distraction, the mean caloric intake was 535 (±164) kcal, in comparison to 591 (±203) kcal using smartphone (p = .05) and 622 (±226) kcal (p = .002) reading a text (no significant difference between distracters). Eating with distracters increased approximately 15% caloric ingestion. An interaction condition*sex effect was observed on lipid intake (p = .020). Energy intake was found to be dependent on sex and age, in which older men ingested more calories. Smartphone use during a meal increased caloric and lipid intake, depending on sex and age in young adults with complete dentition.

Keywords: Digestive system; Eating; Energy intake; Oral physiology; Smartphone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / psychology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Deglutition
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology
  • Reading
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Smartphone*
  • Snacks / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats