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How Your Kitchen Is Making You Fat
Is 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.

You won't believe what lessens stress: washing the dishes! But you have to do it a certain way.

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.

From credit cards to ceiling fans, find out 10 things you should clean--but don't.

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