Longevity Expert Reveals How to Rearrange Your Kitchen to Lose Weight
These tips can help you eat better, get healthier, and live longer.
Living healthier goes hand-in-hand with living longer. For some people, that goal may involve trying to lose weight, since obesity is a major risk factor for several leading causes of death in the U.S., including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But with so many treats and sweets easily accessible to us, eating better is always easier said than done. With that in mind, Dan Buettner, longevity expert and founder of Blue Zones Inc., says the real secret to losing weight may lie in how you rearrange your kitchen.
In the early 2000s, Buettner worked with National Geographic to identify five places in the world that have the highest rates of individuals living past 100. Referred to as the "Blue Zones," they are Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. The longevity expert has also spent much of his life researching the habits and diets of those living in these regions to find out exactly why they live so much longer than most.
In a July 2023 interview with Mia Johanna Dige, a metabolic health coach working with health technology company Lumen, Buettner shared that one of the best ways to start eating better (like those in the Blue Zones) involves switching up your kitchen set-up.
The worst thing you can have in there? A toaster on the counter. According to Buettner, research from Cornell Food Lab shows that people who keep their toaster on the counter in their kitchen weigh, on average, six pounds more than those who don't.
"There are very few healthy things we put into a toaster and very few healthy things come out of a toaster," he told Dige.
Buettner further explained that just the sight of the toaster makes us more likely to eat unhealthy things more often, such as Pop Tarts, waffles, or cinnamon bread.
"So removing the toaster for your counter is one of the easiest ways you can lose weight in 2024," he wrote in the caption of a Jan. 3 Instagram post where he shared a clip of the interview.
It's not just the toaster you need to consider when it comes to rearranging your kitchen, however. According to Buettner, you should also keep your junk food drawer out of the way—whether that means you have to "stoop down, reach up high, or walk around the corner of the pantry" to get to it.
"This makes a huge difference in how many chips or cookies you eat, as opposed to leaving them on the counter," he said. "You know, I like to joke, we're on a 'see food diet.' We eat the food we see."
Buettner told Dige that he is a big fan of having a fruit bowl in your kitchen as well.
"So investing in a really beautiful fruit bowl, putting it in a well-lighted central place and every time we go to the grocery store, filling that," he advised. "That way, when you walk through the kitchen, instead of seeing Doritos, you're seeing bananas or apples or oranges or whatever fruit you like."
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- Source: CDC: Obesity Basics