Is This Causing You to Gain Weight?

Scale going up? Here’s why your kitchen may be to blame and how to get things under control.

If your kitchen is messy, it may be helping to pack on the pounds without you even realizing it. Chaotic and cluttered kitchens can encourage you to consume more calories than organized kitchens, according to a study conducted at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab.

The study split participants into two groups, asking each to wait for someone while in a kitchen. Half waited in a kitchen with dishes in the sink, newspapers strewn on the table and the phone ringing. The other half waited in an organized, quiet kitchen. Both kitchens had bowls of cookies, crackers and carrots sitting out. Participants were also asked to write about a time when their lives were either out of control or in control before they entered the kitchen. Those who wrote about being out of control, as well as those waiting in the cluttered kitchen, ate more calories.

The takeaway from this small study? Living in a chaotic or messy environment can lead to stress, especially if disorganization and clutter make you uneasy. And added stress may cause you to overeat. 

To tip the scales in your favor, here are 3 tips that can help keep clutter under control in your kitchen:

  1. Get rid of things you don’t need. No longer using that spiralizer you had to have or the crockpot collecting dust? Time to get rid of it. Clearing out items that are no longer useful frees up space to organize the things you want to keep.
  2. Give everything a home. Instead of cluttering up countertops, find a logical home for things. Designate a drawer for mail, a cabinet for small appliances or a pantry shelf to keep food out of sight. Another study by Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab found women weighed 20 pounds more in homes where breakfast cereal was left on the kitchen counter than in homes where it wasn’t.
  3. Share responsibility. Can’t stand seeing those dishes sitting in the sink? Make one person in the household responsible for cleaning them each day. Make someone else in charge of organizing mail or putting away food after a meal. Many hands make light work, as they say.

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Date Last Reviewed: September 20, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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