We all know that shopping on an empty stomach is bad for your wallet — but it can also be bad for your waistline by prompting more high-calorie food purchases. While this might sound obvious, there’s now a scientific study to back things up.
Shopping picture from Shutterstock
Researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York monitored the grocery buying habits of 68 people who were instructed to avoid eating five hours before the study took place. The results were then compared to a separate shopping trip where the same participants filled up on crackers prior to hitting the shops.
The study found that peckish shoppers tend to buy a higher number of higher-calorie products. The number of lower-calorie choices, meanwhile, remained around the same. So it appears that hunger-driven impulse buys are exclusive to higher-calorie products.
“Even short-term food deprivation can lead to a shift in choices such that people choose less low-calorie, and relatively more high-calorie, food options. Given the prevalence of short-term food deprivation, this has important health implications,” the report concludes.
It is not known whether items on special were factored into the results however. Personally, I’m more inclined to buy a chocolate bar or soft drink when they have a two-for-one deal on — I don’t even need to be that hungry.
Fattening Fasting: Hungry Grocery Shoppers Buy More Calories, Not More Food [JAMA Internal Medicine]