People prone to frequent, waistline-expanding snacking on chocolate while at work can halve the amount they eat by getting out of the office and walking for just 15 minutes, according to new research.
The study showed that, even in stressful situations, workers eat only half as much chocolate as they normally would after this short burst of physical activity.
The team behind it said it highlighted the health benefits of workers being able to get away from their desks for a short time during the working day.
Professor Adrian Taylor, who led the study, said: "We know that snacking on high calorie foods, like chocolate, at work can become a mindless habit and can lead to weight gain over time.
"We often feel that these snacks give us an energy boost, or help us deal with the stress of our jobs, including boredom.
"People often find it difficult to cut down on their daily treats but this study shows that by taking a short walk, they are able to regulate their intake by half."
Professor Taylor and his team at the University of Exeter have previously shown that exercise can curb cravings for chocolate but this is the first study to show a reduction in consumption.
The new research, published in the journal Appetite, looked at 78 "regular chocolate-eaters" who were given a series of work and exercise tests after going two days without their favourite treat.
Those who had exercised before working consumed on average half the amount of chocolate as the other, around 15g - the same as a "fun-size" bar - compared with 28g consumed by those who had not exercised.
The difficulty of the work task made no difference to the amount of chocolate they ate, which suggests that stress did not contribute to their cravings.Suggest a correction