Overeating & Kitchen Clutter

Overeating & Kitchen Clutter.jpg

Take a look at your kitchen.  Is it a cluttered mess or neat as a pin?  Either way appears to have an influence on snacking behavior.

A recent study in the journal Environment and Behavior by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab says the more cluttered your kitchen, the more likely it’ll make you eat more.

The study used 101 female undergraduate students half of whom were assigned to a simulated, clean, organized and quiet kitchen with few distractions while the other half were assigned to a very noisy, disorganized kitchen – dishes everywhere and papers piled up – with multiple interruptions.  Students in both kitchens were asked to recall and write about a time when they felt very much in control or very much out of control.  Each kitchen contained cookies, crackers, and carrots which the students could eat as much as they wanted of the food. 

The students who had been assigned to the clean kitchen did not overconsume the food offered while students assigned to the cluttered kitchen, were affected by the chaos in the room. Those students ended up eating more cookies – 103 calories more – than the students assigned to the clean kitchen – 38 calories. 

It was surmised by the researchers that the reason why the students assigned to the cluttered kitchen ate more cookies and thus more calories, had been “primed” to be in a more “out-of-control” mind-set because they were writing about a time when they felt out-of-control.  The chaotic environment of the cluttered kitchen perhaps led to more of that feeling resulting in having less control over choosing an unhealthy food compared to choosing the healthy foods also offered of the cracker or carrots. 

The takeaway message from this study is that keeping distractions to a minimum in the kitchen and when eating can possibly give a person more of a sense of control not only pertaining to their physical environment but to gaining more control in their food choices and the amount of food eaten. When your kitchen is clean and organized, it helps calm you down making you feel more peaceful and in control.

But it your kitchen falls into the category of being a cluttered kitchen – if so, take heart.  Maybe this is a good time to tackle the disorganization giving it a good floor to ceiling cleanup.  Once you’ve accomplished that task, sit back and bask in the work you’ve done knowing you can accomplish more than you think.  Apply this to not giving in to overconsumption of the wrong types of food.  It’s all about mind-set and once you set your mind to eating healthy foods your body craves and to resist not overeating less healthy foods, you’ve just accomplished a monumental feat.