"If you are counting calories, seemingly innocuous reminders of tempting, high-calorie food - such as an empty donut box in the middle of a conference table - can lead to worse performance on difficult tests of attention and reasoning ability," said lead researcher Aimee Chabot from University of California at San Diego.

Many employers often provide indulgent food in meetings with the intention of motivating their staff, but that may be having an unintended negative effect, the researchers pointed out.

Instead of counting calories, individuals looking to reduce their calorie intake may opt for simpler strategies, such as avoiding added sugars or not eating after 7 p.m., they suggested.

The findings were presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) 16th Annual Convention in Long Beach, California.

Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk