Whether we’re trying to lose weight or implement habits that are healthy for life, most of us try to grocery shop whenever we can fit it into our schedule. While prices may vary all week long, we’re not actually talking about budget. Based on much research, our nutrition counseling center has an important recommendation for determining what time you do your grocery shopping.
The absolute worst time to grocery shop is when you’re hungry. An empty stomach is a sure recipe for disaster, especially when you’re trying to lose weight or adopt habits that are considered healthy for life. It makes sense that when you’re hungry, you will be tempted to buy things that are hazardous to a healthy diet. The premise is very similar to the psychology behind impulse buys.
Yet research has found even more indications of how shopping on an empty stomach can affect our diet and overall health. In a study that compared individuals who grocery shopped after not eating all afternoon and others who shopped in the morning after eating a healthy breakfast, the subjects who were hungry bought a much higher ratio of high-calorie foods to low-calorie ones.
The “hungry” subjects consisted of 68 adults who did not eat for five hours before grocery shopping in a simulated online grocery store. On average, both the hungry participants bought six higher-calorie items than those who were not operating on an empty stomach. It makes sense that when our bodies are trying to avoid entering starvation mode, we’ll be more attracted to higher calorie foods.
Our nutrition counseling center recommends heading to the grocery store directly after a meal, or having a healthy snack before, such as a piece of fruit or veggies with a protein-based dip such as hummus, to curb our appetites and feel fuller longer.