Forget Weight Watchers: Eating With Men Is The New Diet

Jessica Hoppe

I wonder if the famously sexy model and Top Chef host (not to mention proudlover of bacon) Padma Lakshmi lets something as silly as eating with the boys hold her back? Pretty sure that’s a no.

But according to NPR, gender dining really influenceswhat and how much you will eat. A new studyconducted among a sample of 127 college students andpublished intheJournal of Applied Social Psychology revealed the following:

Both men and women appear to choose larger portions when they eat with women, and both men and women choose smaller portions when they eat in the company of men.

The evidence suggests that both men and women abide by “unconscious scripts” of how to behave in the company of the opposite sex and this effects theway men and women eat when they eat together and when they eat apart.

Molly Allen-O’Donnell, then a graduate student atIndiana University of Pennsylvania, wanted to get to the bottom of this eating influence conundrum. So she decided to conduct a study herself by sitting at a popular college eatery and observing how much food people purchased for lunch and dinner and whom they were eating said meals with.While many factors were identified as influencers, thegender of people’s dining partners seemed decisive. She and her co-authors found that when women sat with other women, for example, they ordered an average of 833 calories. When they ate with men, on the other hand, they purchased only 721 calories on average.

It is no surprise to learn that woman will restrain themselves in the company of men — abiding by societal belief’s of whatconstitutes appropriate eating portions in the presence of men.

The surprising result was that men were affected as well. It seems men make everyone hold back and women give the green light to pig out. Allen-O’Donnell’s research foundwhen men sat with other men; they ordered an average of only 952 calories. When they sat with women, they ordered 1162 calories.

None of the participants admitted to being consciously affected by the gender of their dining partner but perhaps now they will. So give it a try ladies! Don’t wait for a brunch with your girls to pig out — stop pushing around that salad and order a burger on your next date. Let him see you devour it — hey, it works forPadma.