Sometimes cleaning your kitchen is absolutely the last thing you want to do — even when you have super colorful dishes and your kitchen looks like it was decorated by a pro. But a recent study may influence you to get those gloves on and get scrubbing ASAP. New research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that a dirty kitchen can actually result in putting on extra pounds. Yikes!

Young woman doing housework, cleaning the kitchen

According to the study, the more messy and cluttered a kitchen, the more likely people tended to eat, and vice versa — cleaner, more organized kitchens tended to help people eat less. The study looked at 98 women, and asked half of them to wait in a clean, quiet kitchen. The other half had to wait in a messy kitchen that included dirty dishes in the sink. Both groups had access to bowls of cookies, crackers and carrots. The women that were in the messier kitchen ate more food overall than the other group and had twice as many cookies.

The study’s authors also asked some of the women to write about a time when they felt very in control and then asked others to write about when they felt completely out of control. The ones that felt more in control, and who then walked into the kitchen, ate a hundred fewer calories than the ones who had talked about feeling powerless. So basically a messier kitchen not only leads to weight gain but also stresses you out? Please pass the broom!


Marissa Vicario, an Integrative Nutrition-certified health coach, tells us the reason this happens is because “clutter creates feeling of stress and of being overwhelmed, which most of us react to by turning to food to process our emotions around those feelings. Your brain needs a reprieve so it looks for something to take your mind off of the thing that’s causing stress.” Ah, stress eating. Yep, guilty. Marissa continues, “Food is easy because it’s readily available and it tastes good — it gives you something enjoyable to focus on at least for a few moments. However, I would go beyond the kitchen to say that clutter in any part of your life can cause you to eat more calories. Think of how light you feel when your inbox is empty and your closets are clean and organized. The same goes for the kitchen.”

But in addition to cleaning a bit more, there are some other things you can do to create a calmer environment in your kitchen. Nutritionist Jennifer Cassetta, who can currently be found on the ABC show My Diet Is Better Than Yours!, gave us some advice about how to achieve kitchen zen. “Consider all the senses, not just sight,” Jennifer says, “I like to burn sage before I start cooking and especially before I am hosting a gathering. You can also burn a candle for a soothing feeling and scent. Use fresh-scented cleaning products. I prefer citrus scents. You can also play soothing music when you’re in the kitchen, to help reduce stress levels and prevent stress eating.”

So keep your kitchen tidy and fresh smelling to stave off eating your feelings. Got it!

Do you usually keep your kitchen clean? Post a photo of your kitchen and tag us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)