Throughout the 5 week holiday season
chocolates and candies
are everywhere at work.
in staff rooms,
in waiting rooms and on countertops.
I find that when treats are around me I eat more.
In fact, the number of candies we all eat depends on many factors.
The Candy Experiments
If candies or chocolates are around your work space, you are more than likely to eat them. You can’t control everything in your environment, but you can control your own desk. If you keep treats off your desk, you will eat less. Even if treats are on your desk, you will eat more or less depending on certain factors.
The candy experiments involved dishes of candies that were placed on the desks of secretaries working in an office. For this blog, I am going to use small chocolates instead of candies and assume that the results would be very similar.
Each day, unknown to them, the dishes contained 30 small chocolates and each night. “Chocolate fairies” would determine how many were eaten throughout the day and then top the dish up to 30 small chocolates again. Here’s what the researchers found:
1. The type of bowl placed on the desk determined the number of candies eaten.
If the dish was clear, on average 9 small chocolates were eaten per day.
2. If a clear dish was placed 2 metres away from the desk,
for example on top of a filing cabinet,
on average 4 (less than half) the chocolates were eaten.
Think having a few chocolates isn’t significant?
Each small chocolate = 30 calories
9 small chocolates = 270 calories/day
4 small chocolates = 120 calories/day.
Over a 5 week period of 25 workdays:
9 small chocolates/day = 2 pounds gained
4 small chocolates/day = about 1 pound gained
So by just removing the chocolates from your desk,
you can save yourself from having
to work that extra pound off in January
(which would take 7 hours of brisk walking).
The Jellybean experiment
In a different experiment, bowls of jellybeans were put out in an office. Each night 100 jellybeans were put into a bowl. Here’s what the researchers found. If there were 6 different colours of jellybeans in the bowl, on average people ate 23 jellybeans. If there were 4 different colours, people ate 40% less, even though both bowls had the same number of jellybeans and they all tasted the same. If there were 6 different colours, but each colour was put in a separate bowl, on average, people ate only 12 jellybeans, about 50% less.
So the greater the variety, the more is eaten. This is true not only for candies and chocolates but Christmas baking as well.
How to be an enlightened eater at work this holiday season:
- Keep candy out of your office, or at least off your desk, as much as possible.
- If candy is in your office, limit to one kind, in a covered dish, on a counter away from anyone’s desk.
- Once you start on chocolates/candies/baking, it is hard to stop eating them. If you can’t stop at one, have your “one” at the end of the day when you’re on your way out the door. Sometimes more is not better, it’s just more.
- When I can’t stop eating those sweet treats, I have a piece of cheese. It seems to cut the desire for sweets.
- During the holiday season there usually are many treats from which to choose. So save yourself for your favourites instead of eating them just because they are there.
- Bring sweet and juicy mandarin oranges into work for a refreshing and satisfying change.
Choose quality over quantity this holiday season!