A study conducted by Cornell University showed that men eat much more in the presence of women: 93% more pizza, but also 86% more salad! It would be a way to show these ladies that they are healthy.
The link between eating disorders and sexual selection has often been evoked to explain anorexia in women: in our contemporary societies, where thinness is appreciated, women would be forced to keep their figure to give themselves more opportunities to seduce. This would explain some observations indicating that women eat less in the presence of men. This pressure on women can become pathological in some of them, extending to all meals, to the point that they do not eat enough and become anorexic.
But what about men?
Do they eat less in the presence of women? To find out if their eating habits are different when eating with men and women, researchers at Cornell University conducted a study in an Italian restaurant in the United States. It involved 105 adults between the ages of 18 and 81. Customers at these restaurants could eat as much pizza and salads as they wanted without paying extra.
It was found that men ate more in the presence of women than men, and even more: 93% more pizza and 86% more salad. Women ate the same amount in the company of men or women, but when they ate with men they felt they had eaten too much. These results appear in Evolutionary Psychological Science.
Men demonstrate their good health by eating too much.
From an evolutionary point of view, researchers suggest that over-eating is a way for men to impress women. Kevin Kniffin, the lead author of the study, links his findings to others who have already suggested that some people eat food that is too spicy to brag. In this new research, excess food would play the same role. It would be a kind of signal that says: I’m healthy, so I can eat too much and do well!
So the idea would be to attract someone by showing them that you’re healthy enough to do something that wouldn’t be particularly healthy. This new article highlights the risk of eating disorders in men, even though men here have eaten more salad with women.
Women, on the other hand, have eaten especially less in the presence of men in this study. But according to the authors, this could be due to the configuration of the experiment, as it was not a particularly in a romantic context.