You are likely to eat more when your overweight friend is around, points out a new UK-based research. “Why do people often think back on a pleasant evening with friends and realise that they ate more and worse food than they wish they had?” ask study authors Margaret C Campbell (Leeds School of Business) and Gina S Mohr (University of Colorado).
If any of those friends carry a few extra pounds, just being in their presence could trigger what the authors call a “negative stereotype”, reports the Journal of Consumer Research. “Seeing someone overweight leads to a temporary decrease in a person’s own felt commitment to his or her health goal,” the authors explain, according to a Leeds statement.
In one study, they asked people who were walking through a lobby if they would take a quick survey. The surveys had photos, including that of an overweight person and a person of normal weight.
Then the researchers asked respondents to help themselves from a bowl of candy as a thank you. “People who completed the survey that included a picture of someone who was overweight took more candies on average than people who saw either of the other two pictures,” the authors write. What can help you counteract the tendency to overeat when in the presence of overweight individuals is thinking about health goals and reminding yourself of the link between eating and becoming overweight.