February 23, 2017

Anyone falling victim to the temptation factor or with a problem giving up certain foods may want to rethink their access to those foods.

An experiment into candy consumption found that more candy is eaten when it sits in see-through bowls within arm’s reach compared to when in opaque bowls in the same location. When the candy is six feet away? Even less is eaten. See a quick video here that summarises the results. The temptation factor strongly influences behaviour.

What was surprising was that despite eating less when they had to stand up and walk to get the candy, the study participants consistently said that they ate more. It seems that the effort involved made them more aware of their eating behaviours.

So, what does this mean at home for someone trying to lose weight? Keep these temptation foods out of the house. If they’re not there, you won’t eat them.

Failing that, keep these foods

  1. Stored on the top shelf of the cupboard or back of the fridge or bottom of the freezer. If they’re hard to access, you’ll eat less.
  2. In opaque containers and out of the packaging which has been designed to tempt. If they’re hard to see, you’ll eat less.

Let’s look at the positive implications of this experiment. If ease of access and clear visibility can make you eat more of a food, which foods should you keep in line of sight? A bowl of vegie sticks. A fruit bowl. A small container of nuts.

Does it translate to exercise? Keeping your runners at the bedroom door might prompt you to go for an early morning walk. Laying out your gym clothes at night might help you say yes to coming to an early-morning class.

Structure your daily routines around actions and behaviours that use this knowledge of the temptation factor in your favour.