DIET&FITNESS Published October7, 2014 By Angela Betsaida Laguipo

Study Shows Size Of Friends Influences Appetite

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(Photo : The size of friends influence one's food choices and appetite

A new study from Cornell University revealed that the size or body type of friends, the persons dining with you and others near you influence your appetite. The study says eating with someone who has a large appetite and bigger body built can influence how much you can eat in one sitting.

The study investigated the impact of sitting with overweight people on the healthy food choices of people. They tested whether the food choices would be healthy or unhealthy. The study, which was published in the journal Appetite, was authored by Katie Johnson of Mayo Medical School and Brian Wansink, PhD director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab.

It involved 82 undergraduate student respondents. They were asked to eat pasta and salad during their lunch. They were divided into four groups wherein they ate at separate occasions with an actress eating with them. A fat suit was worn by the actress that makes her look fatter and overweight and in separate occasions, she went as herself without the fat suit.

Each group will witness four scenarios: the actress served a healthy food with more salad and less pasta with the prosthesis on, the actress served herself the same food without the fat suit, the actress served less healthy food with more pasta and less salad while wearing the prosthesis and lastly, she served herself unhealthy serving without the prosthesis. The respondents watched the actress eat and later on served with the same food she ate.

The results revealed that when the actress had the fat suit on appearing overweight, the respondents ate more pasta (31.6%) not minding whether she served herself more pasta or more salad. In addition, even when she served herself more salad while wearing the prosthetics, the participants ate 43.5% less salad. Hence, they concluded that when a person dines or eats with an overweight person, they forget their health goals and start eating unhealthily.

The researchers suggest pre-committing to meal choices before eating a meal or entering a restaurant. This eating habit could be avoided by assessing the hunger level before eating a meal or deciding what to eat. In this way, sudden over eating will be avoided.

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