ST. BONAVENTURE, NY (CBS Connecticut) – According to a recent study, being lazy can help you from overeating.

Researchers found that eating either a healthy or unhealthy snack comes down to which type of food is more easily accessible to you. Gregory Privitera and Faris Zuraikat report in their study that “if placed within easy reach, people will eat more of a low-calorie treat, even in a competitive food environment in which preferred, higher calorie food is also made available.”

Over 50 undergraduate students, in which 26 were men and 30 women, participated in the study. Their body types ranged from healthy to obese.  None of the participants could eat for two hours before beginning the experiment.

Researchers then escorted each participant into a kitchen where they sat down alone at a table. The researcher left the room to get questionnaires but announced that food was available in bowls if the participants wanted something to eat.

One bowl featured fresh apple slices; the other high-fat movie-theater popcorn. The researchers would place one bowl within arm reach of the participant and the other about six feet away. It was then reversed for the next participant.

Researchers pointed out to Pacific Standard that “the far location required participants to get up and walk to the bowl in order to reach the food.”

The researchers would return to the room in about six minutes and ask the participants to rate the snacks. The majority of the participants have sampled both snacks. Researchers were then able to measure how much each participant had of each snack.

The students preferred the popcorn to the apple slices. However, the researchers reported that “when popcorn was near, more popcorn was consumed; when apple slices were near, more apples were consumed.”

“Proximity influenced total energy intake,” the researchers added to the magazine. “In that the least calories were consumed when apple slices were near and popcorn was far.”

The study was published in the journal Appetite.


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