Office candy jar linked to weight gain


by CBS News

Posted on April 18, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 18 at 2:13 PM

(CBS News) -- The company candy dish may look friendly and harmless, but it’s not as sweet as it appears. According to a recent study from Cornell University, the average Americanworker is packing on nearly seven pounds a year—and theeasily-accessible, bite-sized treats found in offices are significant contributors.

"Early Show" contributor Taryn Winter Brill found out why the office candy jar can really turn sour for some employees’ diets.

Those candy jars—offering snacks to get you through a tough day’s work - seem like they’re everywhere.

"It’s ridiculous what it does," says Brian Wansink, a Cornell professor.

Wansink wrote the book, "Mindless Eating," and says candy sitting on the desks of our co-workers is expanding our waistlines.

"We have found that, if you have a clear jar, it can add up to seven pounds a year," he adds.

Wansink argues that candy left out in the open can wreak havoc on a diet even when you’re not hungry.

To test Wansink’s finding, "The Early Show" prepared a bowl of candy and set it out in our newsroom.

Within one minute - we had our first taker.

Minutes later - we had a few more.

Of course, there were several people who passed.

Which isn’t so easy, according to Wansink, who points out, "It’s virtuous the first five times, but by that ninth time it’s likely just a matter of time before you say, ‘I deserve that.’"’

Some may have felt they deserved a lot - like "Early Show" Producer Andrew Schutzman.

"You actually went to that candy dish six times," Brill points out.

"Six times?" Schutzman asks.

"Yeah, did you know it was that many?" Brill asks.

"No. I thought it was only once or twice," he says.

Schutzman grabbed an additional 600 calories during our experiment. If this were a daily routine, he’d pack on 40 pounds within a year.

"If its there I’m going to take it," he admits.

Taking the candy simply because it was there appeared to be a trend.

"It’s so addicting when it is right there in front of you like it was for us," "Early Show" Broadcast Associate Sarah Garrette admits.

"They will look at that candy dish and, within seconds, will grab that candy without even thinking about it, but move that dish just six feet away and those cravings will be reduced by half," Wasink adds.

That’s welcome news to "Early Show" staffers—since our candy drawer is tucked away in a file cabinet at the far end of the office.