Humans eat for a lot of reasons, but who would have thought that a messy kitchen was one of them? National Public Radio (NPR) recently highlighted a study published in the journal Environment and Behavior that looked at how external cues like clutter affect our food intake.

Researchers at Cornell University set up two kitchens. One was clean and organized and the other was messy, cluttered, and strewn with dirty dishes. They brought 100 women into the kitchens one at a time. The women were assigned a task and provided with unlimited snacks –including cookies, crackers, and carrots. Those in the messy kitchen tended to consume twice as many calories from cookies as women in the clean kitchen. The messy kitchen didn’t impact consumption of the carrots or crackers. The results of the study suggest that a person’s environment can impact food intake, especially for sugary foods.

In a similar study conducted at the University of Minnesota, researchers found that people who were placed in a messy workspace or room were less likely to choose a healthy snack than those placed in a clutter-free space.

Both of these studies show that a clean and tidy environment can lead to better behavior –at least in regards to food choices.

If you’re struggling with your weight you might consider cleaning and de-cluttering your home and workspace. This simple hack might just help you to reach for the carrots instead of the cookies.

Until next time, make every bite count!