Your messy kitchen can make you eat more, say researchers at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. According to their research, cluttered kitchens can cause stress, which makes us more likely to grab a fattening snack.
Stressed women who were asked to wait for another person in a messy kitchen ate twice as many cookies compared to women who waited in a quiet, clean kitchen.
A group of 101 women were divided into two groups. Half waited in a messy kitchen, complete with dishes in the sink, newspapers on the table, a ringing phone. The other half waited in an organized kitchen.
Both kitchens had bowls of crackers, carrots, and cookies.
Before entering the room, some of the women were asked to write about a time when they felt they had control over their lives, and a time when they felt their life was out of control.
The group who entered the cluttered room feeling in control ate about 100 fewer calories than those who felt out of control before entering.
"Being in a chaotic environment and feeling out of control is bad for diets," said researcher Lenny Vartanian, Ph.D. "It seems to lead people to think, 'Everything else is out of control, so why shouldn't I be?'"
Vartanian says he suspects the same reaction would be found in men.
"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," said coauthor Brian Wansink.
The link between clutter and weight gain has caught the attention of other experts. Peter Walsh, author of Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?, says that there appears to be a strong connection between physical clutter and weight gain. "The more cluttered your space is," he wrote, "the more weight you gain."
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