Messy environments create stress and that can lead people to eat more than they should, a new study finds.
Keeping the kitchen clean, though, leads people to eat less.
The study had stressed women in either:
- a messy kitchen with the phone ringing,
- or a quiet and clean kitchen.
The kitchen had bowls of cookies, crackers and carrots for them to eat.
Those waiting in the messy, noisy kitchen ate 65 more calories in 10 minutes.
Dr Lenny Vartanian, the study’s lead author, said:
“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?’
I suspect the same would hold with males.”
The study also compared the effects of being stressed with being relaxed.
Being stressed while waiting in the kitchen led women to eat an average of 100 calories more.
Professor Brian Wansink, a study co-author, said:
“Although meditation, as a way of feeling in control, might be one way to resist kitchen snacking for some, it’s probably easier just to keep our kitchens picked up and cleaned up.”
The study was published in the journal Environment and Behavior (Vartanian et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Weight loss image from Shutterstock
→ This post is part of a series on weight loss:
- How Healthy Foods Can Hurt Your Weight Loss Goal
- Dieting Advice: Only Eat When Hungry — Sounds Obvious But It’s Hard
- Why Eating With a Fork Versus A Spoon Can Aid Weight Loss
- This Very Easy Change To Tableware Can Help You Eat 30% Less
- People Eat Fewer Calories After A Straightforward Change To Home Environment
- How The Sounds You Make While Eating Could Help You Lose Weight
- Weight Loss: Why You Should Put A Mirror Up In The Kitchen