If You Want to Eat Healthily Eat Alone, New Study Suggests

by Bernadette Wurzinger | Pexels
by Bernadette Wurzinger | Pexels
Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor16 March 2017

Breaking bad diet habits and forming new, healthier ones requires a substantial amount of will power, so a little peer pressure from well-meaning friends can add unintentional cheat meals to your week. Now a new study suggests dining with company increases your calorie intake significantly.

The American Heart Association recently presented results from a study that tracked 150 dieters over the course of a year. Participants used apps to create a daily food diary, the data from which revealed they were most restrained when they ate solo.

Dining with other people increased their chances of eating unhealthily by 60%. The workplace was a temptation minefield, increasing the likelihood of a diet lapse by 40% thanks to the prevalence of birthday cake and happy hour drinking session.

While it’s true that eating sociably can increase the chances of an unintentional splurge in terms of both portion size and calorie count, there is one caveat: if your friends have a health focused approach to diet they might help you slim down.

According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine the dietary habits of your inner circle are contagious. After monitoring the weight of 12,067 people — friends, family, coworkers, neighbors — over the course of 32 years, researchers discovered that when one individual became obese those close to them were 171% more likely to gain weight, too. However, the same was true for weight loss, as one person’s successful slimming and commitment to healthy food inspired others.

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