Trying to eat fewer unhealthy snacks at work? Making them more difficult to get hold of is the key according to researchers at Yale University who conducted a study observing the eating habits of employees in a large New York office. While this finding certainly isn’t a revelation, the most interesting aspect of the data was how much harder the researchers needed to make it for the participants to get their hands on the snacks in order to reduce consumption.
The study compared how many times people took snacks placed near a drinks machine with how many made the same choice when the snacks were moved a little further away from the drinks machine. When items were near to the drinks machine, one in five people took a snack when making a drink. However, when the snacks were moved an extra 10 feet away from the drinks machine this number dropped to one in eight people.
The researchers were surprised that a small increase in distance had such a pronounced effect on the number of snacks taken but explained their findings supported the idea that small environmental changes can exert a powerful influence on behaviour and consumption. Another interesting finding was that women were better able to resist the snacks when they were placed close to the drinks machine. This is in line with previous findings that show women typically exhibit better self-control than men.
When it comes to cutting out snacking at work, a little really does go a long way so there’s no need to put your colleague’s latest bake-off creation in another building to stop you picking at it all day. You just need to make eating it more of a planned, conscious decision by placing it a little further out of the way from anything you pass on a regular basis. Source: Appetite
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