Want to stay healthy - then place fruits in a clear bowl within arm's reach, so that you could help yourself whenever you felt the urge to eat.
The new study says that when fruits are within reach, people are more likely to eat them. Greater visibility of fruit increases their intake, but the same does not hold true for vegetables.
Researchers Gregory J. Privitera and Heather E. Creary, both from St. Bonaventure University, Olean, US, tested a total of 96 college students by placing apple slices and carrot cuts in either clear or opaque bowls at a table close at arms' length or at a table two metres away.
Participants watched as the food was taken out of its packaging and were told that they were welcome to eat it, the journal Environment and Behaviour reports.
After leaving the students alone with the food for 10 minutes, the researchers found that when apples and carrots were left close to the participants, those healthy foods were more likely to be eaten, according to St Bonaventure statement.
Interestingly, making the food more visible to participants by placing them in clear bowls increased the intake of the apples but not the carrots. The researchers said this might be due to the fact that fruit is sweeter and may induce more motivation to eat than bitter-tasting vegetables.
"Apples, but not carrots, have sugar, which is known to stimulate brain reward regions that induce a 'wanting' for foods that contain sugar," the authors wrote. "Hence, apple slices may be more visually appealing than carrots."