Do you have a stressful job and eat chocolate to relieve that stress? How about a short walk instead? Scientists at the University of Exeter found that office workers who exercised just a tiny bit afterwards consumed only half the amount of chocolate than those who didn’t.
15 Minutes, 50% Difference
Published in the journal Appetite, the research suggests that employees may find that short breaks away from their desks can help keep their minds off snacking.
The study had 78 regular chocolate-eaters stay abstinent from chocolate for two days and then invited them to a simulated work environment. Divided into four groups, the participants were asked to spend 15 minutes on a treadmill set above moderate intensity and then had to complete a task at a desk.
The first group was given an easy one, the second something more difficult. The third and fourth had to complete the same jobs as the first two groups, but received a rest period before they started. All four groups were given easy access to chocolate treats right on their desks and were allowed to eat them whenever and how much they chose to.
No matter if they had been on the easy or difficult task, the people in the groups who did the treadmill session and then directly started their tasks ate only about half the amount of chocolate (15 g) than the other two (28 g). Which is interesting, as apparently task difficulty – and therefore stress – made no difference in cravings.
Step Away, Boost Your Energy
Adrian Taylor, lead researcher in the study, commented:
We know that snacking on high calorie foods, like chocolate, at work can become a mindless habit and can lead to weight gain over time. We often feel that these snacks give us an energy boost, or help us deal with the stress of our jobs, including boredom. People often find it difficult to cut down on their daily treats but this study shows that by taking a short walk, they are able to regulate their intake by half.
It therefore might be a good idea to step away from your desk for a couple of minutes instead of directly reaching for that candy bar.
Picture courtesy of John Loo.