A trip to the supermarket with a growling stomach may encourage you to buy higher calorie foods, new research suggests.

Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Aner Tal, researchers from Cornell University, conducted a preliminary laboratory study and follow-up field study focusing on food deprivation and its effect on dining options.

The research team asked 68 paid contributors in the laboratory analysis to refrain from eating five hours before the study. Crackers were offered if participants reported being too hungry during the experiment.

When the participants were finally offered food, the majority tended to avoid meals with lower calorie counts and requested higher-calorie food options.

The follow-up study tracked grocery options for shoppers in relation to the times of the day during which they would most likely be hungry (usually between 4 and 7 p.m.).

People who shopped for food when they were less likely to be hungry chose food options with a lower calorie count compared to those who shopped while hungry and bought food with a higher calorie count.

"Even short-term food deprivation can lead to a shift in choices such that people choose less low-calorie, and relatively more high-calorie, food options," Dr. Wansink and Dr. Tal concluded in their findings.

"Given the prevalence of short-term food deprivation, this has important health implications."

The team's findings were published in the May 9 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.