Can Kitchen Clutter Cause You To Eat More?


Very Messy KitchenTypically, human beings tend to eat more when they feel stressed or blue. Called emotional eating, it is a significant reason that many of us are overweight. Rather than listening to our body's true hunger signals, we reach for comforting foods when we feel emotionally out of whack. Cornell University recently took this idea and applied it to kitchen clutter. Can a messy kitchen cause us to eat more than usual?

Kitchen Clutter: An Issue of Control

The researchers asked the study participants to reflect on the issue of control immediately prior to participating in the study. Each participant wrote about a time she felt in control or a time she felt out of control. Each participant was then taken, one at a time, into one of two kitchens. Both kitchens were fully stocked with enticing snack foods like cookies and crackers and healthy snack foods like carrots. Each participant was told there was plenty of food and they could eat as much as they liked. The difference between the kitchens was the cleanliness. One kitchen was pristine without any obvious clutter and quiet. The second kitchen was a wreck with dirty dishes in the sink, papers strewn from one end to the other, and a jangling phone.

Research Study Results

Results of the study were published in the Environment and Behavior journal. In general, researchers found that women who were in the chaotic kitchen or those who wrote about a time they were out of control consumed far more calories in a ten minute time period than the other groups. The group of women who wrote about a time they were in control consumed fewer calories no matter the kitchen they were assigned.

So the next time you feel like a snack, take a look around the kitchen. Are you truly hungry or would some kitchen organization do the trick instead?


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