What you keep on your kitchen counter can affect your weight

What you keep on your kitchen counter can affect your weight

If you have ever wondered why your neighbor’s waistline is much smaller than yours, take a look at your kitchen counter.

After photographing the kitchens of 200 American women, researchers from Cornell University and Ohio State University discovered that women who had breakfast cereal on the counter weighed 20 pounds more than their neighbors. Those with soft drinks on the counter weighed 24 to 26 pounds more. However, women with a fruit bowl on the counter weighed 13 pounds less than their neighbors.

Researchers also asked a random sample of households across the U.S. to share which foods they had on their counter, along with their height and weight. Those who had a fruit bowl on their counter were more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who did not. Packaged foods, such as chips, crackers and cereal, were linked to a higher BMI, as well as men who had cookies on their counter.

“We are human,” says Jamie Portnoy, registered dietitian with Advocate Weight Management at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “If food is in front of us, odds are we are going to eat it. Therefore, if we leave candy, cookies and chips on the countertops, every time we go past it, we most likely will grab a handful. A handful here and a handful there will add up.”

To prevent mindless eating, Portnoy recommends leaving the kitchen after a meal, staying out of the kitchen if it’s not meal time, and pouring a glass of water if you do end up back in the kitchen.

“Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is always the best option,” she says. “Keeping nothing out or fruit is always going to be the best choice.”

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.