How Food in Your Kitchen Can Predict Your Weight Loss (or Gain)
The foods and drinks that sit on your kitchen counter can likely predict your weight. According to a study by Cornell University, certain items that stay out on the counter can predict weight gain, while others predict weight loss. The study used more than 200 photos of American kitchens to determine which foods could be directly linked to the owner’s weight. The study found that participants who had breakfast cereal and soft drinks sitting on their counters weighed significantly more.
So exactly how much does displaying a box of Lucky Charms or bottle of Coke affect weight? According to the study, participants who had cereal on their counters weighed an average of 20 pounds more than their neighbors who didn’t set out cereal. Those who had soft drinks on their counters weighed an average of 24 to 26 pounds more than those who didn’t. Despite those jaw-dropping statistics, the study found some uplifting information: Participants who had fruit on their counters weighed, on average, 13 pounds less.
This shows that a major weight issue can be tied not to having snacks in general, but to what kind of snacks you have on your counters. According to the study, “Instead of encouraging dieting, some health professionals are helping their patients understand how factors in their eating environments such as their homes may lead them to overeat, and how they can change these environments to help them effortlessly eat less.”
Lead author, Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand lab, explains further, “It’s your basic See-Food Diet — you eat what you see. As a cereal lover, that shocked me. Cereal has a health-halo, but if you eat a handful every time you walk by, it’s not going to make you skinny.”
This research shows that it is a lot easier to maintain or lose weight if sugary drinks and salty snacks aren’t visible at all times. By keeping your counters stocked with healthier snacks you have better chances of making healthier choices and being more satisfied.
“Instead of encouraging dieting, some health professionals are helping their patients understand how factors in their eating environments such as their homes may lead them to overeat, and how they can change these environments to help them effortlessly eat less,” Wansink said.
Understanding what and how much you need to eat is an important first step to losing weight. After all, as the saying goes, you really can’t out-exercise an unhealthy diet.