Would you believe that even small, seemingly inconsequential decisions like using a shopping cart versus a basket can affect your food choices at the supermarket?

A new study suggests that using a cart can make people three times more likely to choose healthier foods in the grocery aisles because of the mind-body relationship – ‘embodied cognition’.

According to Consumer Reports, embodied cognition refers to the notion that bodily sensations can influence our thoughts and emotions. In this case, scientists suggest that the act of flexing your arm as you do when toting a basket, encourages you to choose smaller, easier rewards – often those indulgent, quick-fix foods. Carrying a basket is said to make you more predisposed to buying smaller, instant gratification type rewards instead of foods for achieving long term goals. On the other hand, extending your arm while pushing a cart, has the opposite effect. For those interested, you can read the complete study here (but be warned, it is rather lengthy!)

It may sound like a theory easy to dismiss as rubbish – aren’t we in control of our own choices? However, the relationship between our rational, emotional and physical systems has been thoroughly researched and numerous studies have pointed to a strong, often undetected association between them.

What do you think? Have you noticed that you shop healthier when using a shopping cart?

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