Tired of all the fancy diet programs and the expensive gym memberships? The answer for a healthy diet might be easier than you thought: fight fat off by always shopping with a grocery list.
A new study has shown that people who made a habit out of shopping with a list in hand sustained a healthier weight for longer periods of time – even when the neighborhood shops offered a variety of unhealthy choices that could seem more enticing.
This research comes to support previous data that focused on proving that people can even lose weight when sticking to a strict grocery list. The survey was done in a door-to-door manner, with researchers collecting demographic information by asking respondents about their height and weight, and a few details about their diet.
Surveying took place in the lower-income neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, which have acquired the nickname of “food deserts,” meaning that healthy food comes in fewer options that in other better-situated neighborhoods of the city. Household incomes of the residents did not surpass $20,000 and African-American families are predominant.
More than 1,300 residents responded to the survey, and one in 3 people said they always shopped with a grocery list; approximately 17 percent said they sometimes or rarely shopped with a list, while 26 percent reported they had never done so.
Researchers analyzed the data they had collected and found out that the category of people who planned their shopping by making lists were, on average, less heavy than other study groups – at least 5 pounds less than people who chose to do more free-range shopping.
Lead author Tamara Dubowitz caution that their study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior, might not be universally applicable to communities with higher incomes; however, she added that if a study proved that was the case, she wouldn’t be that surprised.
Dubowitz, who is chief policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, said the results made sense: when you have a list to shop by, you tend to ignore some of the influences that usually prompt us to make unwise shopping choices. A lot of times we are encouraged by the shelves arrangements and by advertisement in the market place to buy healthy food.
If you decided to plan your shopping needs in advance, you have more chances of being more focused and less influenced by sale items you might not even need. Food marketers don’t care about your health, they just want to sell more products – and they are very good at doing just that.
Little steps, like taking the time to make a list, matter, and it helps us make a great difference in our eating habits. It may be just a simple strategy, but if you want to try and avoid all those fatty food temptations, you might give it a try.
Image Source: Time