Eating better normally involves some degree of work, like reading nutritional labels and counting calories. But wouldn’t it be nice if eating healthier could be effortless? According to a recent study from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in the Journal of the Association of Consumer Research, it can be.
While eating that extra slice of cake always seems like a great idea in the moment, munching on it with a mirror in the room makes you think differently about consuming the extra calories, researchers found. In fact, the mere presence of a mirror “can reduce the perceived tastiness of unhealthy food, which consequently reduces its consumption.”
In their study, students had the option of cake or salad in a room with mirrors and without them. When people indulged their sweet tooth in the mirror-less setting, they rated the cake as tasting better. It didn’t taste as good in the room with mirrors, though. Meanwhile, the taste of the salad never changed. So what’s the deal?
Seeing yourself eating something unhealthy triggers a degree of mindfulness — basically your brain is telling you to make better food choices. Or as lead researcher Ata Jami puts it, “[It] tells people more than just about their physical appearance. It enables them to view themselves objectively and helps them to judge themselves and their behaviors in a same way that they judge others.”
So if you’re hoping to make next year a healthier one, you may want to put a mirror (or two) in your dining room or kitchen.
See more of this colorful New York home, designed by Pat Healing, here.