Researchers found that your weight can be influenced depending of what snacks you leave on the kitchen counter. Maintaining a normal weight might require you to opt for a fruit bowl, rather than chips or candy.
Brian Wansink, a food psychologist and director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University said that:
“There was a huge correlation between what was sitting out and how much [participants] weighed.”
For the first study, the researchers asked about 500 women – who were mothers of at least two children – in the United States to complete an online survey. According to the researchers, this demographic had the highest risk of gaining weight.
The women were asked to report their own and their spouses (when possible) height and weight – for the researchers to calculate their body mass indexes aka BIMs – and were also questioned on whether they had the following items on their countertops: chips, pretzels, candy, cookies, cereals, food processor or blender, toaster, and fruit bowls.
Researchers found that only the fruit bowls were associated with lower body mass indexes in both women and men. For men, even toasters signalled higher body mass indexes (BMI).
In the second study, the researchers visited the homes of 300 study participants in Syracuse, New York to look at the items that could be found on the people’s counters. The results were similar to those in the first study.
People who left fruit bowls on their kitchen counters weighed about 13 pounds (6 kilograms) less than those who usually went for unhealthier snacking options. Those who had cereal lying around their countertops were approximately 20 pounds (9 kilograms) heavier than those who did not have cereal on their counters.
Study participants who left soda lying around in plain sight had it the worst: they weighed an average of 25 pounds (11 kilograms) more than the participants who did not have these drinks on their kitchen counters.
Wansink warns people not to be deceived by the ‘healthier’ aspect of cereals, or the ‘health halo’ as he calls it, because more often than not cereals are packed with sugar, as well as other ingredients that lead to weight gain.
The studies – published October 19 in the journal Health Education & Behaviour – suggest that the temptations to eat unhealthy foods can be avoided by putting them away in an opaque container or a cupboard. Of course, the best solution would be not to buy them in the first place, Wansink said.
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