How Your Kitchen Is Making You FatIs your kitchen tidy and clean or cluttered and messy? It's an important question to ask because if your kitchen is a disorganized mess, it could be making you fat. People who have chaotic kitchens often experience out-of-control stressful feelings that increase their desire to snack on indulgent treats, according to researchers at Cornell University.
Translation: Kitchen mayhem can be diet killer.
The study: Ninety-eight women were split among two different kitchen environments: one was organized and quiet with no disruptions, while the other was a "chaotic" kitchen full of disorganized tables, disheveled papers and dishes scattered around.
To prime a certain mindset from participants, the researchers gave each woman five minutes to complete one of three writing tasks. The prompts asked the women to either write about a time in their lives when they felt organized and in control or an opposite time when they were stressed. A third prompt considered a neutral condition.
Following the writing exercise, researchers provided bowls of carrots, crackers and cookies and asked the women to complete a taste survey, after which they were told to eat as much as they wanted.
The results: The women who felt more stress consumed twice as many cookies in a messy kitchen compared with those in the quiet, organized space.
When a kitchen feels disruptive and disorganized, it influences how much we eat. "We found the more cluttered and confusing an environment was, the more people ate," says co-author Brian Wansink. "It made them anxious, and when they got anxious, they ended up eating more cookies."
But the news is not all discouraging for those with a less-than-tidy kitchen space: A relaxed mindset can help reduce the pressure to overeat, counteracting the influence of a chaotic space.
The study findings were published in the journal Environment and Behavior.