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Do you have a hard time fending off the urge to snack at work, especially around the holidays when your coworkers have overflowing bowls of chocolate on their desks? According to a new study published in the journal Appetite, researchers at the University of Exeter have found an easy solution to help office workers cut the urge to snack during the work day. Science Daily reports:
In the study, 78 regular chocolate-eaters were invited to enter a simulated work environment, after two days abstinence from chocolate snacking. Two groups were asked to take a brisk 15-minute walk on a treadmill and were then given work to complete at a desk. One group was given an easy, low-stress task, while the other was asked to complete a more demanding job. The other two groups were asked to have a rest before completing the same tasks as the first two groups. Again, half were given an easier task and the remainder a more challenging one. Chocolate was available in a bowl on the desk for all participants as they carried out their work.
So what happened with the chocolate? Those who walked before completing a task ate roughly half of the amount of chocolate that the non-walkers ate. Researchers also discovered that snacking has nothing to do with stress. The walkers who were doing easy tasks and the walkers who were doing difficult tasks still ate half of the amount that the non-walkers did.
Based on this info, we can deduce that the decrease in snacking has something to do with the mood enhancing effects of exercise. Exercise and eating sweets activate the same brain chemicals, including dopamine. So if you are looking for a little shot of happiness during the day, don’t grab for that chocolate until after you get back from a short walk around the building. If you are still hungry, it’s ok to have a few bites. But you’ll probably already feel better, so you won’t indulge quite as much.
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