Grocery lists can help people lose weight

Taking a shopping list with you to the grocery store can lead to healthier food choices and promote more weight loss.

Researchers from RAND Health Corporation took a survey of more than 1,300 Pittsburgh residents. Most participants were either overweight or obese, and lived in primarily African-American communities. Researchers also noted that the participants were selected from a population where 80 percent of people make less than $20,000 a year, and only 33 percent reported being employed.

Despite living in what’s known as a food desert, or an area of limited access to nutritious food options, researchers found that participants with a grocery list made healthier food choices and had lower body weights, compared to those who didn't use a list. Researchers also examined the differences in body mass index (BMI) and found that those who shopped with a list typically had a lower BMI by one point. For an average person around 5’5”, that equates to about five pounds lighter. 

Less than one-third of participants reported always shopping with a grocery list; whereas, 17 percent noted using a list “often” and 33 percent “occasionally” using one. Researchers found that older females who were unemployed and looking to eat fewer calories were most likely to use a shopping list every time.

Researchers aren't sure if people who are more concerned about health and weight do more planning, or vice versa. But they feel this research is evidence that healthier lifestyles and weight loss can be triggered by everyday choices people make for themselves.

The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

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Sourced from: Reuters, Grocery lists may help shoppers stick to healthier diet, lower weight