Why You Should Never Grocery Shop When Hungry

Grocery shopping when you’re hungry may be a hazard to your health and your wallet: You’re likely to purchase both more food and higher-calorie food, according to a new study from Cornell University, published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

In one experiment, 68 volunteers were either given crackers to curb their appetites or asked to abstain from eating for five hours. The participants then shopped in a simulated grocery store. Those who hadn’t eaten bought almost 19 percent more food, including 31 percent more high-calorie snacks.

In a second experiment, participants went to an actual grocery store either just after lunch, when they tended to be full, or just before dinner, when they were more likely to be hungry. The before-dinner shoppers purchased fewer low-calorie foods than the lunch crowd.