Eating habits have always been an interesting subject for researchers, and according to a recent study, it is not what we eat that we should look out for but who we eat with. It might be the biggest influence on our consumption behavior.
The study conducted by Cornell University looked at 133 men and women at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet over two weeks and the results showed that how much they ate depended on who they were with.
The researchers checked the number of pizza slices and bowls of salad each person had, their gender and the gender of their dining companion before the diners were asked to answer some follow-up questions.
The numbers which came back were surprising. Published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, the results showed that when men dined with women they ate almost twice as much as when they dined with only men and that is 93% more pizza and 86% more salad.
On the other hand, women observed the same eating habit regardless of the gender of their companion, which is interesting since we always thought women tend to eat less when they are in the company of the opposite sex. In the survey, the women dining with men felt like they overate and that they rushed through their meal. Their response could be an empathetic reaction to watching their dining companions overeat.
Going back to the men, the study revealed: “Our observation of men ‘eating heavily’ is sensibly viewed in an evolutionary perspective as men ‘showing off’.” Just like with eating spicy food which “signals a higher tolerance for something that others would consider painful”.