These days restaurant portions are often huge, leaving many to bring a good deal of their food home in a doggie bag. But while you may think this is a smart move for your waistline, it actually may be doing more harm than good.
A new study suggests that folks who bring home leftovers wind up actually eating more, and also exercising less. It seems regardless of how big a portion is, and how much food someone ate at the restaurant, by bringing home leftovers they think they didn’t actually eat all that much. This leads folks to reward themselves with unhealthy snacks, and possibly bigger portions in future meals, feeling as though they “earned it.”
The study also shows that people who bring home leftovers are less motivated to exercise as compared to someone who didn’t bring anything home, but actually ate the same amount of food as the original person.
"The psychological drivers of this phenomenon are twofold," the study’s co-authorLinda Hagen explains. “Larger leftovers reduce perceived consumption, which leads people to feel better about themselves. And feeling better about themselves, in turn, reduces people's motivation to compensate.”