Eating While Standing Could Make You Gain Weight


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Who hasn’t indulged in some leftovers while standing over the kitchen counter? Well, you may want to take a seat for this — standing up while eating might actually make you fatter in the long run.

“Eating while standing up allows people to continue to eat and drink because you’re able to digest faster so you consume more,” said Dr. Prem Chattoo, a New York-based Gastroenterologist. “It’ll eventually cause weight gain.”

Patrons eating at Ikinari Steak in New York must do so while standing. Credit: Shinya Suzuki/Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Eating while standing has become a bit of a trend in the restaurant world. Ikinari Steak, a new Japanese steakhouse in New York, is a standing-only establishment. Patrons eat rich cuts of meat while standing over high table tops and are supposed to leave feeling less painfully full.

“You can eat a lot because your stomach is not bent,” Ikinari, owner of Kunio Ichinose, told the New York Daily News.

Ikinari is right — due to gravity, you are able to digest faster and may even reduce acid reflux pain.

“For one night it would probably be beneficial,” said Chattoo. “You’re not going to feel that heavy steak in your stomach, but it’s not something people should do for every meal.”

Related: Eating Just One High-Fat Meal Can Damage Your Metabolism

However, Chattoo said having liquids meals, such as soup and juice, while standing up is fine.

For places like New York, where real estate is limited and expensive, standing restaurants offer a great solution to maximize small spaces. Standing restaurants are also convenient for a quick bite to eat for people on-the-go, but eating quickly may also be just as bad for your stomach and waistline.

Credit: Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

A 2006 Japanese study surveyed over 4,700 people and found that the faster people reported to eat, the higher their body mass index was. Eating faster increases the likelihood of overeating because your brain essentially does not have enough time to tell your stomach that it’s full.

In another study from Canada, researchers asked one group of participants to eat a meal from plastic containers while standing up, while the other group was given the same meal on a plate while sitting down. They found when participants who ate standing up were given their next meal a few hours later, they ate about 30 percent more calories than those who were sitting down.

“People are more likely to feel the psychological satisfaction of having a meal if they are sitting down,” nutrition therapist and registered dietitian Theresa Kinsella told the New York Daily News. “I recommend a mindful eating approach that usually includes sitting down and taking the time to experience the food in the mouth and tuning in to hunger and fullness cues.”

Even though you may be in a hurry during your next meal or even enjoy eating standing up, you may want to consider taking a seat and spending just a few more minutes eating — your waistline will thank you for it in the long run.

Related: Eating Less May Contribute to Living Longer