We have all been there, and seen the dishes piling up overflowing from the sink. Not only is the sink full, but there is food all over the counter tops with little to no room for your plate of food you worked so hard to prepare. Believe it or not, there have been many studies done on the anatomy of the kitchen, and how if yours is constantly a mess it could result in hidden weight gain.
Researchers from Cornell Food and Brand Lab did a study on this controversial topic of interest, and sure enough they found it to be true. Cluttered and chaotic environments cause stress in one’s daily life, which can lead to a multitude of bad habits. In their study, they tested female patients in a messy and chaotic kitchen with the phone ringing, dishes everywhere, and people running around. The women in this environment ate twice as many cookies as the women who were tested in clean and quiet kitchens.
The main idea behind this phenomenon is the brain telling you that your environment is chaotic and crazy, which in turn means your diet can be as well. Nine times out of ten stress will cause a person to overeat and be blind to the fact that they are overfilling their faces with unhealthy foods. When a person becomes stressed, there is more cortisol that is released in the body, which has been a known factor in increasing the appetite.
What To Do
There are a few things you can do to manage your stress levels and maintain a clean kitchen among the chaos. Many people who feel the pressure either have children, a significant other to cook for, or are simply just in a rush themselves. A good idea here is to assign chores when cooking dinner to your kids. In regards to your significant other, ask him to help you clean up as you cook so that you are working with a clean work area. This will not only save time for you later on after dinner is done, but you will feel more at peace when you are eating dinner. If it is just you, simply give yourself a few extra minutes to wipe down the kitchen before you eat your meal. I like to clean up as the meal is cooking, or baking in the oven so that when I eat I do not have to look at a destroyed kitchen (which raises my cortisol levels).
It is also a good idea to get junk food off of the counters, and away from your easy reach. During the study, the females were given cookies, crackers, and other snacking items in bowls very close to where they were standing. The thought process of taking the snack, and putting it in their mouths was very uninvolved.
In a home full of children, it is a great idea to teach them early on the importance of a clean home, and how to take care of dishes. When they are young adults they will thank you for it, even if you get backlash right now! Enjoy those home cooked meals, and be cautious when you are feeling a little stressed in your kitchen.