Cluttered and chaotic environments – such as messy kitchens - can cause stress leading people to eat more
Losing weight can be an arduous task, however, scientists have discovered that simply keeping a clean kitchen could stop people over-snacking on calorific treats.
Knowing that cluttered and chaotic environments - such as messy kitchens - can cause stress, scientists at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab investigated if one’s mind-set could prevent unwanted snacking.
The study, published in the journal Environment and Behaviour, organised 100 female participants in to two groups.
One group was asked to sit in a messy kitchen with scattered piles of papers and dirty dishes, while the second group sat in a clean and organised kitchen. Participants were also asked to recall and write about a time when they felt particularly in-control or particularly out-of-control.
Finally, all the participants were given bowls of biscuits, crackers and carrots to taste and rate.
Participants in the chaotic kitchens and who wrote about a time when they experienced an out-of-control mind-set consumed twice as many biscuits than those in the organised kitchen with an in-control mind-set.
In total, those in the tidy kitchens consumed around 100 less calories than those in the messy kitchen.
“Being in a chaotic environment and feeling out of control is bad for diets," said lead author of the study, Dr Lenny Vartanian, an associate professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
"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.”
Co-author Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, 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."