Study of 240 people showed that those who ate an apple before going shopping bought 25% more fruit and veg

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Image: Can’t resist the bakery aisle? Eat an apple before you go shopping, says science

Photo: Flazingo Photos / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: Flazingo_Photos

Never shop on an empty stomach …

Doing the weekly shop can be a minefield of bored children, sugar cravings and public meltdowns when you realise they’ve sold out cauliflower (we blame you east London, and your cauliflower rice ways).


If you're the kind of shopper who can't help but gravitate towards the chocolate, bakery and pudding aisle, then there could be a little trick you can try before venturing out.


Researchers claim to have found a simple way to control those sweet tooth cravings: eat an apple. 


The study of 240 people found that crunching down on an apple before braving the supermarket aisles made shoppers buy 25% more fruit and vegetables. Good news if you're trying to eat a better diet.


Researchers carried out three studies. In the first study, 120 shoppers were given either a slice of apple, some cookie or nothing at all when they arrived to do their shop.

Those who snacked on the apple bought 28% more fruit and vegetables than those who tucked into the cookie, and 25% more than those who ate nothing.


In the second study, 56 participants were given either some apple or a cookie before being shown 20 pairs of products (each pair contained one healthy item and one unhealthy item). The participants were asked to choose which one they would purchase.


Those who ate the apple, opted for the healthier items. 


The third and final study took three groups of people. They gave two of the groups some milk labelled 'healthy, wholesome chocolate milk', and gave the third group milk labelled 'rich, indulgent chocolate milk'.


All three groups were then asked to select foods from a virtual grocery store. Those who were given the milk labelled 'healthy' and 'wholesome' opted for healthier foods afterwards.


Dr Aner Tal from Cornell University, who carried out the research, said: “What this teaches us is that having a small healthy snack before shopping can put us in a healthier mindset and steer us towards making better food choices.”


While more research on a wider pool of people is needed before we can subscribe to the mantra "an apple a day will bring more apples your way", we say go forth and crunch down on that Braeburn because, well, they're tasty. And you just might come out with a healthier shopping basket at the end of it, too.