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New research is proving that it’s not a good idea to go grocery shopping when hungry. In a couple of recent studies, researchers have found that people are more inclined to purchase high-calorie foods when they shop on an empty stomach.
A study from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University compared the purchases of a group of consumers who shopped between the hours of 1-4pm against those who shopped between the hours of 4-7pm.
Those who shopped later in the 4-7pm slot bought fewer low calorie items than those who shopped after lunch in the 1-4pm slot.
In another study, also out of Cornell University, 68 participants who hadn’t eaten for five hours were split into two groups. One group was allowed to eat as many wheat crackers as they wanted, while the other half were not given any food. Then both groups were asked to grocery shop online.
The hungry group who had no wheat crackers purchased almost twice as many high-calories products as the group who ate before shopping.
Brian Wansink, one of the study’s lead investigators, suggests that, “You don’t buy more, but you do buy more of the wrong type of calories. You buy things like cereal, snacks, chips, candy and other convenience foods that require no preparation and that you can eat right away.”
Not only is this practice detrimental in the short term in terms of over-snacking, but it can severely impact your whole week’s eating pattern since you’ve purchased all these high-calorie food items.