Food is undoubtedly an essential element for the human body. But beyond that, food is also a means of communication and socialization with those around us.
Family meals, Business dinners or dining with friends are just a few of the ways in which we tend to dine with other people.. Numerous studies show that our eating behavior is directly affected by the social influences we receive from our interlocutors.. So until today we knew that "we are what we eat", but maybe we are also what our neighbor eats;
The 5 factors that push us to eat more
1. Eating food with others
One result that has been shown by the majority of research is that people tend to eat more, when they dine with their partner, with relatives or friends, than when they eat alone, while the amount of food consumed seems to increase in proportion to the size of the company. Many mechanisms are likely to be involved in this process most importantly reduction of the perception of the feeling of satiety, due to social interaction and emotional arousal.
It is also characteristic that the presence of one or more people creates strong tendencies of imitation in terms of food consumption. As we know from psychology, people tend to imitate many aspects of the people with whom they interact, including posture, of gestures and manner of speaking. In the field of nutrition, mimicry results in the image of a person eating a "bite" of food triggering the same reaction in his neighbor. So we have almost synchronization in food intake.
3. The sex
Mimicry is just one of the elements that shape our eating behavior when we eat with other people. The gender of our interlocutor also plays an important role, the intimacy we feel with him and the nature of the relationship we have. More specifically, women tend to consume smaller amounts of food when their meal companion is men, from,what when they are same-sex individuals. The same does not seem to be true for men, since in a relevant research their dietary choices were not affected depending on the sex of the associate. One reason that may explain this behavior, is that women, not unfairly, associate their femininity with food intake, as studies show that women who eat less are more likable than those who eat a lot.
Regarding the effect of intimacy on the amount of food we consume, It seems that both women and men tend to consume less food in the presence of a stranger or a person with whom they do not have enough intimacy.. This is probably because in the early stages of an acquaintance our desire to make a good impression leads us to a more restrained energy intake.. Between the various relationships that can develop between two people, in a corresponding survey conducted, It seemed that women and their partner consumed the most food while in men this happens when they are with their friends..
5. Body weight
Another factor that affects our eating behavior is our body weight and the body weight of the person we eat with.. Study conducted with a sample of overweight and normal weight (normal weight) young people, concluded that overweight people who ate with another overweight person ate more than,what when their neighbor was of normal weight. It did not turn out to be the same for the norm-heavyweights, since their consumption was not affected by the other person's weight. The wrong stereotypes that overweight people want to consume huge amounts of food, is obviously a reason why overweight people in the presence of a normal or unfamiliar person reduce their energy intake. instead, meal with another overweight person rather reduces their inhibitions, resulting in the consumption of more food.
Concluding, the conclusion we can draw is that our eating attitude around a table is multidimensional and is mainly influenced by social and psychological factors. Our food "beliefs" are rather set aside and replaced by the feelings we have for our interlocutors and our need to be accepted..