Lose weight by organizing your fridge?

Research shows food placement in refrigerator can impact snacking habits

DETROIT - With the average person opening the refrigerator 22 times per day, there is evidence that something dubbed the "Fridge Diet" might be able to influence how we eat, and help us lose weight.

Research from Cornell University found food placement inside the refrigerator has an impact on our snack habits.

It's something many people don't even think about.

"I don't know about the placement. I think if it's, if it's in the house, somebody's gonna get it, if they want it," said shopper Teri Fields.

Mother Kathy Sexton says, "I'm ashamed to say that with two kids its kind of goes wherever it fits."

The Cornell University study found people are nearly three times more likely to eat healthy food if it's within line of sight when the refrigerator door opens.

Registered Dietitian and Owner of Healthy Ways Nutrition Counseling in West Bloomfield, Gail Posner, agrees with the study.

Gail Posner, says, "Because many of us are very impulsive in terms of when we see something to eat, we impulsively take that food item."

Shopper, D.J. Haska, says, "Generally, what you eat first is what you put right near your eye, you know. The stuff that you don't really care about is like on the door and underneath."

Get Healthier Food Up Front

Posner suggests filling eye-level shelves with more nutritious foods.

She says, "Great things to have in the front of the fridge would be your cut-up fruits and vegetables, cut up carrots, cut-up celery. The peppers are delicious and filled with nutrition."

Posner says to put the tempting, less nutritional items, like chocolate syrup, in harder-to-find spots.

Gail Posner says, "That should be, perhaps on the bottom shelf of the fridge. so it's out of sight, not to trigger you 'Hey, I'd like some chocolate.'"

However, some consumers disagree with Posner.

Lauren Pankin says, "Regardless of where you put it- you're going to look for it. It's like if you have a craving for something, you're going to look for it."

If the "Fridge Diet" alone isn't enough or doesn't seem manageable, another strategy is to shop more often and buy less in each trip to the grocery.

A study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology shows people tend to eat less when resources are scarce. So, buying only a few days worth of meals at a time can trick the mind into eating less.

This strategy can also have benefits on the wallet.

Posner says, "Sometimes, my clients will say that they could buy these vegetables, ... and they'll rot in the fridge drawers."

Grosse Pointe's Melba Dearing says, "You don't really notice you're doing it, until you think about it- It's kind of weird."

Having fewer alternatives to the healthy options leaves fruits and vegetables that would otherwise spoil as a practical choice over hunger.

Another simple way to diet is to be smarter when packing leftovers. Smaller containers can leave one eating more than planned. Combining entrees and sides into full-meal containers can stop a person from over-eating past the one-meal mark.

Kathy Sexton says, "It's more important to learn how to eat everything in moderation."

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