Does wearing masks in supermarkets make people shop healthier?

Masks in supermarkets might have a strange psychological effect and trick you into eating healthier

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Wearing masks in supermarkets and shops has become commonplace all over the world. We know there's science behind masks: Thanks to a recent experiment's cutting-edge laser-mapping technology, we know masks can seriously limit the spread of COVID-19. 

However, there's an aspect of healthiness around masks we never knew about. According to one recent study, the masks you wear could be impacting the food choices you make while you shop. 

Masks are said to induce a type of behaviour called "enclothed cognition", according to chartered psychologist Dr Paul Marsden. Enclothed cognition is an idea that people will automatically behave according to the way they dress. 

For example, if somebody puts on a lab coat, they might find themselves feeling and acting in a more observant manner, because they look the part of the scientist. Another aspect of enclothed cognition is, when faced with an overwhelming desire to not workout, the subject is more likely to go and do that workout if they've already put on their gym clothes. 

In the case of masks, people required to make a conscious choice to be healthier will also be likely to make another, such as buying more fresh fruit and vegetables and less of the processed stuff. 

Diet plan

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Of course, this also correlates with elevated levels of health anxiety. Thanks to initiatives such as the British government's drive to get the population healthier, we know obesity and related illnesses such as type-2 diabetes and cardiac problems increase the risk of death if the individual catches COVID-19. 

Getting fitter and healthier means having an improved immune system and less of those harmful biomarkers, helping you fight off those infections. Mask-wearing people watch out for their health in multiple ways, including areas like diet in addition to hygiene. 

Food subscription boxes

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Masks are rapidly evolving from the sky-blue surgical masks we're used to, with new styles of mask sporting patterns and becoming a fashion statement. High quality technical masks from brands like Under Armour and ASICS are also on shelves, the latter being a mask you can even reportedly drink through.

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.