LIFESTYLE

Eating With Overweight Friends Could Be Making You Eat More Unhealthy Food

14/10/2014 12:47 BST | Updated 14/10/2014 12:51 BST
Anjelika Gretskaia via Getty Images

Dining with overweight friends or family could make you eat more unhealthy food, a recent study has found.

People are more inclined to gorge on junk and push away salads when sat opposite an overweight person - and it's (probably) because we feel less guilty about being unhealthy.

A recent study observed participants eating habits when sat with an overweight person at lunchtime.

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The study split participants into two groups. The first was joined by an actress wearing an overweight prosthesis (AKA a 'fat suit'), while the others ate with her dressed in everyday clothing.

Then, the groups were divided again. Half saw the actress eat more pasta and less salad, while the other half saw her eat more salad and less pasta.

After observing her, participants were asked to serve themselves pasta and salad to eat.

The study found that people ate 31% more pasta and 43% less salad when eating with an overweight person, regardless of the quality or quantity of the food on their plate.

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Authors conclude not only does seeing an overweight eating companion increased unhealthy food intake, but that seeing them eat healthily reduces health food intake.

The results demonstrate that people may eat larger portions of unhealthy food and smaller portions of healthy food when eating with an overweight person, authors note, probably because the "health commitment goal" is less activated.

Food for thought, huh?

The study is published in the journal Appetite.