Short walk cuts chocolate consumption in half

December 7, 2011

A 15-minute walk can cut snacking on chocolate at work by half, according to research by the University of Exeter. The study showed that, even in stressful situations, workers eat only half as much chocolate as they normally would after this short burst of physical activity.

Published in the journal Appetite, the research suggests that employees may find that short breaks away from their desks can help keen their minds off snacking.

In the study, 78 regular chocolate-eaters were invited to enter a simulated , after two days 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 and the remainder a more challenging task. Chocolate was available in a bowl on the desk for all participants as they carried out their work.

Those who had exercised before working consumed on average half the amount of chocolate as the others: around 15 grammes, compared with 28 grammes. 15 grammes is equivalent to a small 'treat size' or 'fun size' .

The difficulty of the task made no difference to the amount of chocolate they ate, which suggests that stress did not contribute to their for sweet snacks.

Lead researcher Professor Adrian Taylor of the University of Exeter said: "We know that snacking on , like chocolate, at work can become a mindless habit and can lead to over time. We often feel that these snacks give us an energy boost, or help us deal with the stress of our jobs, including boredom. People often find it difficult to cut down on their daily treats but this study shows that by taking a short walk, they are able to regulate their intake by half."

Exercise is known to have significant benefits for mood and energy levels and has potential for managing addictions. Professor Taylor and his colleagues at the University of Exeter have previously shown that exercise can curb cravings for chocolate but this is the first study to show a reduction in consumption.

Explore further: In Brief: Chocolate increases cognitive performance

Related Stories

Nice but naughty -- our addiction to chocolate

September 11, 2007

Chocolate is the most widely and frequently craved food. People readily admit to being ‘addicted to chocolate’ or willingly label themselves as ‘chocoholics’. A popular explanation for this is that chocolate contains ...

Brisk walk could help chocoholics stop snacking

November 11, 2008

Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that a walk of just fifteen minutes can reduce chocolate cravings. The benefits of exercise in helping people manage dependencies on nicotine and other drugs have previously ...

The dark chocolate version of Father Christmas is most filling

December 10, 2008

New research at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) at the University of Copenhagen – shows that dark chocolate is far more filling than milk chocolate, lessening our craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods. In other words, ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Ethelred
5 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2011
Oh my. How much chocolate would I eat if I didn't walk so much?

Yes I think this study is ... questionable.

Ethelred

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.