Most home cooks would want a kitchen that is organized, clean and safe. New study suggests that having a cluttered and chaotic kitchen causes over-snacking.
Researchers at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found that cluttered kitchen causes stress to women that makes them feel out-of-control. This may lead them to grab more snacks than intended and eventually, weight gain.
Published in the journal Environment and Behavior, the researchers asked 98 females to participate in the experiment. Half of the participants were instructed to wait in an organized kitchen while the other half in a chaotic-kitchen condition. The chaotic kitchen had newspapers on the table, a phone ringing and dishes in the sink.
The researchers asked the women to recall a time during the experiment when they felt particularly in control or particularly out of control. They found that when stressed out females were faced with a chaotic kitchen, they ate twice as many cookies served to them than those women who were in an organized, quiet and clean kitchen. Overall, they consumed 65 calories more in just 10 minutes.
"Being in a chaotic environment and feeling out of control is bad for diets. It seems to lead people to think, 'Everything else is out of control, so why shouldn't I be?'" lead author Dr. Lenny Vartanian, said.
"I suspect the same would hold with males," he added.
The cluttered kitchen did not affect the consumption of crackers or carrots but it can create vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices.
"One's mind-set in that environment can either trigger or buffer against that vulnerability," the researchers said in the study.
Chaotic kitchen may affect one's stress levels. Yet there are ways to reduce stress levels caused by unorganized stations in the house like kitchen. Here are some helpful ways to maintain a clean and clutter-free kitchen.
1. When cooking, it is advised to have a garbage bowl. In this way, there would be an area where all peelings and scraps would be placed. It's more efficient and saves a lot of time.
2. Cooking slowly reduces clumsiness. When you are cooking, take it slowly but surely. Slow and deliberate means of cooking or chopping is probably the most effective way to cook orderly and neatly.
3. Wash everything you've used in cooking. After cooking, there is such a term called after care. This is the time when you need to wash everything you have used including pots, ladles and knives. This will lessen the burden of being piled up with dirty plates and utensils.
4. Wash your hands before and after cooking. Aside from this, make sure you clean table tops and the sink prior to cooking and after preparing the dish. This will prevent contamination of food by disease-causing pathogens.