Why Your Kitchen Counter Might Make You Gain 20 Pounds

Why Your Kitchen Counter Might Make You Gain 20 Pounds

Illustration by Daniel Miller

Quick, take a look: What’s on your kitchen counter right now? If the answer is cereal — or a bottle of soda — you could be adding to your waistline.

A new study from Cornell University shows that what kind of food you have laying around could be correlated to your weight. To investigate, the researchers photographed 240 kitchens in Syracuse, New York and found that women who had a box cereal out on their counters weighed 20 pounds more than those who didn’t have boxes of the breakfast staple sitting out. Even crazier: Those with soda on display weighed 24 to 26 pounds more than those with clear surfaces.

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“It’s your basic See-Food Diet — you eat what you see,” said lead study author Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand lab and author of Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Lifein a press release of the results. “As a cereal lover, that shocked me. Cereal has a health-halo, but if you eat a handful every time you walk by, it’s not going to make you skinny,” he added.

But don’t worry about stashing everything away. People who had a fruit bowl on their countertop weighed about 13 pounds less than their neighbors with no apples or oranges in sight. Moral of the story: Time to rearrange your kitchen, stat. Put the Cheerios away (so you’ll take it out only at breakfast time) and set out a bowl of ripe, juicy apples, instead. You can grab one of those anytime.

Intrigued? Here are more ways to de-clutter your kitchen — and potentially lose a few pounds along the way: