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Is What's On Your Kitchen Counter Causing Your Weight Gain?

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There's a new weight loss trick in town and (spoiler alert!) it has nothing to do with how little you eat or how much you exercise. Turns out, what we have on our kitchen counters could be leading to weight gain, according to a recent study in Health Education and Behavior.

Researchers from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab photographed over 200 kitchens and when they compared what they saw with the weight of the home owners, the results were striking. Women who had breakfast cereals in plain sight weighed 20 pounds more than their neighbors who stored them in pantries or cabinets, and women with soft drinks on their counters weighed in at roughly 26 pounds more—enough to tip a healthy person into the clinically overweight category. (For more info, read When Your Weight Fluctuates: What's Normal and What's Not.)

On the flip side, women who just had a fruit bowl on their counter weighed a whole 13 pounds less than neighbors who kept these good-for-you snacks hidden away. (Need another reason to eat more fruit? Read why More Fruit and Veggies May Prevent Stroke.)

And these numbers are based just on what food was sitting out, even if the soda was "for the kids" or the fruit went bad before it was consumed. So what gives? The study authors have dubbed it the "see-food diet," which boils down to the idea that we will eat whatever our eyes land on, almost mindlessly, which can—clearly!—be dangerous. These findings come on the heels of a series of discoveries showing that environmental factors, including medication use, pollutants, timing of food intake, and even nighttime light exposure, could be why Millenials Have a Harder Time Losing Weight Than Previous Generations. As if it wasn't already tough enough...

So if you want to change the way you eat and lose weight, it really may be as simple as stashing the sugar and putting fresh produce on full display. Apparently, temptation really goes only as far as the eye can see.

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