food

The 6 ways your house could affect your health and waistline.

Image via iStock.

There are many things we do around the house, usually on autopilot, that can contribute to our health and waistline.

From the temperature you set your air-conditioning to, to how much natural light you let in, there are a few easy thing you can change around your home to benefit your health.

1. Lighting

Lighting can contribute to your weight. (Image via iStock.)

Apparently, the lighting in your home can contribute to your weight. A study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology found that light affects your leptin and ghrelin hormones, which are responsible for fullness and hunger.

They discovered that sleep deprivation and limited light exposure led to lower levels of leptin, which regulated the amount of fat in your body.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones that control hunger will scramble, and you can crave sugar. So when you wake up turn on the lights and open the blinds.

 RELATED:Your office lights could be impacting your weight

2. Access to food

The access and visibility of food can contribute to what you eat in the house (without you even realising). Melanie McGrice, a Melbourne-based dietician, says access to food plays an important part in what we eat when we're at home.

“We are much more likely to eat food that is visible to us, which is why I often recommend putting a fruit and vegie bowl on the kitchen bench with plenty of nutritious, easy to grab fresh fruit and vegetables such as snow peas, baby mushrooms, strawberries, cherry tomatoes and apples,” Melanie says.

Related: The 9 easiest (and surprising) ways to get clean, bright teeth.

Keeping your bar of chocolate or packet of biscuits in the cupboard, or even in a container you can't see through might help you to avoid grazing on them constantly. (Post continues after gallery.)

ADVERTISEMENT

3. How much lounge time you have

Lounging in front of the TV may be more damaging than you think. (Image via iStock.)

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Australians spend the equivalent of a month sitting and watching TV every year. Yes, that's a lot of Game of Thrones.

While you’re probably already aware that sitting down for large periods of time isn't good for your health, there’s a growing body of evidence that's revealing just how damaging it can be. For instance, it’s been linked to a heightened risk of diabetes, heart disease, different types of cancerhigh blood pressure and obesity, and can impact on your mental wellbeing.

The average Aussie is estimated to sit for between 8-12 hours a day, so when you get home, lounging in front of the TV should be limited (even though it's probably the only thing you feel like doing.

Related: The 9 easiest (and surprising) ways to get clean, bright teeth.

4. Temperature

Apparently the heating in your home could have an impact on your weight. According to a study by University College London, keeping your house warm could be making you gain weight.

The research, published in the journal Obesity Reviews, found that exposure to cold prompts humans to generate their own heat — by shivering, for instance, in extremely cold conditions — which, in turn, helps burn calories. When it’s already toasty indoors, we don’t have to expend any extra energy to get comfortable.

RELATED:Why do some people feel the cold more than others?

We're not sure if this is enough incentive for us to give up our old faithful heater this winter though...

ADVERTISEMENT

5. The size of your plates

The size of your plates affects how much you eat. (Image via iStock.)

It's no secret that portion control is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. But the plates you keep in your cupboard can have a lot to do with how much you eat. So what size plate should we actually be using?

“The recommended portion control dinner plate size is 9 inches wide. This is equivalent to an entrée-sized plate that you would be served at a restaurant and is two to three inches smaller than the average sized dinner plate," Melanie explains.

Related: How to deal with those rogue, long facial hairs.

"The recommended portion control bowl should be deep and wide enough to hold 500ml or two cups of fluid. One study found that people who ate from a large bowl consumed 56 per cent more than those who ate from the recommended sized bowl."

6. The glasses you’re drinking out of

Cups are getting taller and wider, so you can end up drinking a lot more than you normally would without realising.

"A standard cup is 250ml which is equivalent to a small take away coffee cup. We tend to use all different types of cups such as mugs and shakes which have increased in size over the years and can contain anywhere up to one Litre of fluid for instance," says Melanie.

"Soft drinks are available in sizes that are two to five times larger than the recommended serve.”

If you're consuming sugary juice or soft drinks, be wary of just how much you're consuming.

Melanie McGrice is one of Australia’s best known dietitians. She is a highly respected author and health presenter on nutrition and dietary issues - and a lover of great food! Join her free nutrition and wellbeing network here.