We eat more when our kitchens are messy: study
Researchers say there could be a simple solution to over-snacking: clean up your kitchen. (©kazoka/shutterstock)
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, February 3, 2016 11:23AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 3, 2016 11:56AM EST
When your kitchen sink and counter are stacked with dirty dishes, you are more likely to indulge in unhealthy snacks, according to a new study.
The study conducted at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, NY, found that cluttered kitchens cause stress and lead women to consume more calories.
Half of the 101 female undergraduate students who participated in the study were asked to wait for another person in a kitchen scattered with dirty dishes and newspapers, with a ringing phone in the background. The other half waited in a clean, organized kitchen.
Both kitchens had bowls of cookies, crackers and carrots. The students who entered the messy kitchen ate twice as many cookies as those in the tidy kitchen. They consumed 53 more calories from cookies in just 10 minutes, the study found.
Interestingly, a messy kitchen and a chaotic environment did not make the women eat more crackers or carrots, the study noted.
Researchers also asked some participants to think and write about a time when their life was out of control, while others were asked to write about a time when they felt totally in control.
The students who focused on being in control and then went into the messy kitchen ate about 100 fewer calories in total than those who felt out of control before entering, the study found.
"Being in a chaotic environment and feeling out of control is bad for diets. It seems to lead people to think, 'Everything else is out of control, so why shouldn't I be?'" the study’s lead author, Lenny Vartanian, said in a news release.
"I suspect the same would hold with males," the associate professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales in Australia added.
Study co-author and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Brian Wansink, said that while meditation can help curb snacking in a messy kitchen, there is a simple solution to the problem.
“It's probably easier just to keep our kitchens picked up and cleaned up,” he said.
The study was published this week in the Environment and Behaviour journal.