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Who’s for Dinner?

Results of Canada Study Raises New Question for Food Diners Everywhere

Chances are a woman will consume fewer calories when dining with a man.

Chances are a woman will consume fewer calories when dining with a man.

Unlike most of my articles, which overwhelmingly focus on the quality of foods and supplements and how they affect our bodies, this one focuses on how others might affect our body and our commitment to overall health.

So here’s a question for you to ponder while you sit with your dinner guests this evening:  Could they be influencing your food choices?  Or how much of what you’re eating?

If you’re a researcher from McMaster University, the answer is clear:  Yes.

To study this question, Meredith Young, a doctor of medicine from the university’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior, observed men and women as they sat and dined at university cafeterias (three different university cafeterias), all of them oblivious to Young’s observing their gastronomic tendencies or their dining companions.

What she found was that what people ate – and how much of what they ate – was largely dictated by gender and the gender of their dining companion.  In short, women who ate with men tended to eat less, while women who ate with other women tended to eat more.

Young wasn’t surprised by these findings and chalks up the results to what media images today portray as the thing that’s attractive to the opposite sex:  thinness.

Young believes that women who are influenced by media images consider eating smaller meals an attractor, thus are more prone to eat smaller portions when in a male’s presence.  Whether it’s done unconsciously or consciously is for future studies to determine.

The study is published in the journal Appetite.

Again, this study falls outside the traditional bailiwick for natural news items.  But I think it’s a question worth considering, especially for women:  Do you find that you eat less when in a male’s presence rather than a female’s?  If so, why?  Is there any validity to this researcher’s findings?

Speaking as a man, I think a woman shouldn’t allow who she dines with affect how much of what she eats.  Each and every one of us has our own personal satiety meter; in other words, we eat until we feel “full.”

That, and that alone, should determine how much of something we eat.  By ignoring that fullness meter – whether it’s eating despite being full or not eating enough – is showing disrespect to our bodies and the sustenance it requires.

Now, there’s a big difference between how much of what we eat and the foods we choose to eat.  And according to this study, women who ate with men opted for lower calorie foods than did women who ate with other women.

I’m not sure what I think of this.  On the one hand, it’s good, because women dining with men are opting for healthier food choices.  But on the other hand, it’s not so good, because the women are seemingly influenced by peer pressure, not their own desire to eat healthy.

And that’s really what it’s all about:  your own desire to eat healthy, no one else’s.

Do you find that who you eat with influences your eating habits?  How you answer will help you better understand your overall commitment to living a healthy, all-natural lifestyle and why you’re doing it.  That commitment has to come from deep inside of you, no one else.

It’s not about doing it because it’s attractive, or because it’s “in,” it’s about doing it because it’s the surest thing to living a long and healthy life.

Source:
sciencedaily.com

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Comments

Comment from Freya
Time September 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I’ve heard men comment that it’s a pleasure to see a woman actually have dessert (when dining out), lol. I will do that, IF and only if it’s my feed-day. Invite me on a burn-day and I certainly won’t.

Actually, I think I’m “better” when I eat with a female friend; as if to show her that you can have a good time and be with others without going overboard with bread first, then potatoes and rice, then dessert … a chicken stick and salad is just fine.

If I’m with a man, I’ll suggest sharing a dessert, one plate, two forks ;-)

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