Helping the environment might come at the price of a bigger belly: shopping with a reusable grocery bag may make you buy more junk foods, a new study from Harvard suggests.
In the study, people who brought reusable grocery bags with them to the supermarket were seven per cent more likely to choose foods high in fat, sugar or sodium – like potato chips, pizza or ice-cream – than shoppers who just grabbed a plastic bag at the checkout.
On average, the people who used reusable bags bought additional junk food that equated to an extra bag of potato chips or a bakery biscuit.
Using reusable grocery bag makes you feel more virtuous, since you know you’re helping the environment by choosing a bag that’s not going to end up in the landfill, says study co-author Dr Uma R. Karmarkar.
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But feeling like you’ve already made one good decision can also make you want to treat yourself later – like caving when you walk by the confectionery display or spot a new flavour of Tim Tam, she says.
Your move, then, is to find a different way to indulge while you’re strolling through the aisles. Consider shelling out for a better brand of coffee than what you normally buy, for instance.
Planning your shopping list in advance can also help you avoid impulsively filling your trolley with junk. Try incorporating these 15 Surprising Gourmet Fat Burners.
And don’t ditch your bag: the more you keep using it, the more your need to reward yourself for doing so will fade, says Karmarkar.
That’s because it’ll start to feel more like an everyday activity – and you no longer feel the need to reward yourself for brushing your teeth before bed, right?