I couldn’t decide whether to title this post I’ll Have The Same Thing or OK Let’s Split an Appetizer or Sure, I’ll Get Dessert Too… According to a recently published study, it seems that instead of “we are what WE eat,” we actually are what our PEERS eat.
Researchers in the UK analyzed fifteen different published research studies and determined consistently, that we eat the way our friends, family, and table mates eat. All of the research suggests that we will eat more when others around us are eating more, and we eat less when dining with lighter eaters.
It makes perfect sense. Sociologists call it social norms –the customary rules that govern behavior in a group. It’s a major way of reinforcing our identity to a certain group, by doing what it takes to fit in.
If the social group is your family, and celebrations and Sunday dinners always involve lots of high fat foods, you eat it because it’s there, and that’s what you do. If the social group is your girlfriends and everyone’s counting calories, chances are no one’s going to rock the boat and order a cheeseburger and fries. No one wants to be the odd man (or woman) out, so we go with the flow.
Just some food for thought the next time you’re choosing your dinner companions. Who knew overeating was contagious?