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Shopping While Hungry Leads to Bad Food Choices

Shopping on an empty stomach can lead people to load their grocery carts with more high-calorie foods, a new study suggests. However, they do not only get bad food choices for the next meal, but also for meals throughout the week, says researchers Brian Wansink and Aner Tal, who are with the Food and Brand Laboratory at Cornell University.

Tal states that hungry people tend to think of more high-calorie foods that provide more energy, which affects the choice of foods they buy for the week. These foods may include red meat, candy and salty snacks, in contrast to lower=calorie foods like chicken breasts, vegetables and fruits.

The report, which was published recently in the online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine, was based on two experiments. The first one involved 68 participants who were asked not to eat five hours before the study. Some participants were given crackers to eat just before the study. They were then all were instructed to shop online in a simulated grocery store. They observed that hungry participants chose higher-calorie foods like regular ice cream over low-fat ice cream.

In their second experiment, the researchers followed 82 actual shoppers at different times of the day when they were most likely to be hungry or full. They found that hungry shoppers bought more high-calorie products, compared to those who were not hungry.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at the NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City explains that when the body is deprived of energy, it goes into survival mode which is a complex defensive response that makes people go for high-calorie foods to replace calories lost and to store them in case of another famine.


HealthDay News. Hungry Shoppers Pile High-Calorie Foods in Their Carts.

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Natural Health Sherpa, Internet Selling Services, Wilmington, NC