Men overeat in order to impress the opposite sex, recent research published on November 10 in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science has shown.
Experts from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University conducted an observational study in an all-you-can eat Italian buffet, and focused on the behaviors of 105 adults having lunch.
They kept records of each diner’s total number of pizza slices and salad servings, and correlated these results with the gender of the partner or partners that had been in the diner’s company.
Moreover, after each meal ended, customers were stopped before leaving the buffet, and asked to fill in a short questionnaire, inquiring about their level of satiety, and also about how comfortable or rushed they had felt while dining.
It was determined that men who had been having lunch in the presence of at least one female guest had eaten approximately 93% more pizza in comparison with their counterparts who had been eating solely with their male friends or family.
This tendency to overindulge in food was similarly heightened even when it came to healthier alternatives: male subjects that had been at the restaurant with one or several female companions also consumed around 86% more salad than those who only had other men at their table.
Funnily enough, the women that had been observed in the experiment had confessed fears about having overeaten, because they had felt hurried or emotional during the meal.
However, no such instances had been identified by researchers, who didn’t notice major differences in terms of calorie intake among women, depending on the gender of their dining partner.
In the opinion of Kevin Kniffin, study lead author and visiting assistant professor at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, excessive food consumption among men is actually an attempt to create a positive impression on the opposite sex.
While in the past men would show their prowess and strength as hunters and warriors, in the contemporary world they have devised other ways to attract potential partners, and apparently one of them is disordered eating.
Proving that they are capable of consuming incredibly large quantities of food is seen by men as a manner in which they can show their fitness and health.
This is definitely paradoxical, since overindulging in food on a regular basis can only lead to becoming overweight or obese, which isn’t exactly the definition of physical wellness. It also puts extra pressure on the stomach and intestines, while heightening the risk of heart attack.
On the other hand, this isn’t the first time that researchers have identified harmful or risky behaviors that men take excessive pride in. It seems that there’s a male propensity to turn to dangerous and even life-threatening activities, in an effort to prove one’s ability to withstand challenges and overcome adversity.
For example, competitive eating contests, which require participants to consume huge amounts of food in a short time span, are dominated mostly by men.
As researchers have shown, binge eating disrupts the stomach’s contractions, causing gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), heightens the risk of perforated ulcer, and it can even be deadly.
For instance, back in October 2012, 32-year old man who was trying to eat live worms and roaches choked to death, and a similar incident which involved hot dogs also caused the death of a 47-year old man in July 2014.
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