Your dinner date could make you put on weight

September 4, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—If your dinner date chooses unhealthily from a restaurant menu, you are less likely to stick to healthy options, according to University of Birmingham research published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

A team of psychologists wanted to understand whether the behaviour of those around us undermined or encouraged either healthy or unhealthy eating. They carried out a study to examine whether selecting food in the presence of another person who is choosing mostly low or influenced their eating partner's .

Participants selected a lunch from a buffet of high calorie foods, such as cocktail sausages and crisps, as well as low calorie options, such as vegetable sticks. They made their selections in the company of a member of the research team who chose either predominantly high calorie options or low calorie options.

After a laboratory test, the researchers discovered that the presence of another person and their choice of food can influence the food choices of an eating partner, as selection of vegetable sticks was reduced when the eating partner avoided them.

Dr Eric Robinson from the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology, who led the study, said, 'We wanted to find out whether food choices are affected by an eating companion. Our research suggests that eating with other people can affect our intentions to eat healthily.

'We would advise people to be aware of what those around them are choosing to eat, and to make sure they stick to their intentions to eat a .'

Dr Suzanne Higgs, Reader in Psychobiology of Appetite at the University of Birmingham, said, 'This research underlines the of eating and how this influences our behaviour'.

Explore further: Remember your lunch if you want to avoid afternoon snack

More information: The research is published in the British Journal of Nutrition: journals.cambridge.org/action/ … e=online&aid=8600141

Related Stories

Remember your lunch if you want to avoid afternoon snack

May 16, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Psychologists at the University of Birmingham have discovered that focussing on eating lunch and paying great attention to the food can reduce snacking in the afternoon, according to research published ...

Eat healthy -- your kids are watching

May 30, 2012
If lower-income mothers want kids with healthy diets, it's best to adopt healthy eating habits themselves and encourage their children to eat good foods rather than use force, rewards or punishments, says a Michigan State ...

Food fight or romantic dinner? Communication between couples is key to improving men's diets

May 22, 2012
Married men will eat their peas to keep the peace, but many aren't happy about it, and may even binge on unhealthy foods away from home.

Recommended for you

'Obesity paradox' not found when measuring new cases of cardiovascular disease

December 7, 2017
Although obesity is a well-known risk factor for getting cardiovascular disease, a controversial body of research suggests that obesity may actually be associated with improved survival among people who have cardiovascular ...

Harmful effects of being overweight underestimated

December 1, 2017
The harmful effects of being overweight have been underestimated, according to a new study that analysed body mass index (BMI), health and mortality data in around 60,000 parents and their children, to establish how obesity ...

More than half of US children will have obesity as adults if current trends continue

November 29, 2017
If current trends in child obesity continue, more than 57% of today's children in the U.S. will have obesity at age 35, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Exercise alone does not lead to weight loss in women—in the medium term

November 23, 2017
Knowing whether or not exercise causes people to lose weight is tricky. When people take up exercise, they often restrict their diet – consciously or unconsciously – and this can mask the effects of the exercise. In our ...

Mindfulness training shows promise for maintaining weight loss

November 23, 2017
Can mindfulness training help overweight people shed pounds and keep them off? McGill University researchers surveyed the growing body of studies investigating that question, and came away encouraged.

Shaming overweight kids only makes things worse

November 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—Overweight kids who are shamed or stigmatized are more likely to binge eat or isolate themselves than to make positive changes such as losing weight, a leading pediatricians' group says.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.