Clutter Around the Kitchen Sink

The Clutter Made Me Eat It

Perhaps we should add clutter and chaos to the list of potential causes for obesity. An entertaining new randomized, controlled study published in Environment and Behavior shows that people in a chaotic, cluttered kitchen will eat almost three times more cookies than people in an orderly kitchen.

The investigators went all out. In the chaotic kitchen, the furniture was jumbled, pots and dishes were strewn around, subjects were greeted by a disorganized host complaining about running late, and collaborators burst into the kitchen demanding to know the whereabouts of a professor. During these sessions, subjects were randomized to write about situations where they felt particularly in or out of control.

Both the chaotic kitchen and thinking about being out of control led to subjects consuming more cookies relative to crackers and carrots.

These findings are entirely consistent with observational studies that find a strong association between stressful, chaotic lives and an increased risk of obesity. The authors extrapolate from these observations to suggest that bringing order into such stressful lives may provide opportunities to reduce obesity risks.

We see an opportunity for more research.

Click here to read the study and here to read more from NPR.

Clutter Around the Kitchen Sink, photograph © Tasha Lutek / flickr

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February 16, 2016

One Response to “The Clutter Made Me Eat It”

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