Shoppers buy more calories on an empty stomach
New research from Cornell University found that people who grocery shop on an empty stomach are more likely to purchase unhealthy, high calorie foods than people who go to the store with a full stomach.
Previous research has shown many times that people often buy and eat more food when they have been dieting or fasting. But this study found that hungry shoppers also tend to opt for more unhealthy foods while their stomach is growling.
For the first part of the study, researchers asked 68 people to avoid eating for five hours, and then grocery shop online in a simulated grocery store. The store included high calorie and low calorie items that were placed next to each other on the shelves. Half of the participants were given a plate of crackers to eat before they started shopping in the virtual super market.
In the second part of the study, people were tracked while they shopped in a real supermarket either after lunch when they felt full, or before supper when they were hungry.
The results of both experiments found that people who shopped hungry did not necessarily buy more food than people who shopped with a full stomach, but they did choose more unhealthy foods and more total calories. The study authors concluded that consumers should be aware that even short periods of fasting could dramatically skew food choices.