The cliché that the way to a man’s heart is though his stomach may have different connotations for plump women because a new study has revealed that hungry men are more likely to fancy fat women.
A team of psychologists established that men who are hungry are attracted to plumper women, but the researchers found that, once they had eaten, men's taste in women reverted to those with slimmer figures.
The academics suggest the phenomenon arises from primeval associations between larger body sizes and health and survival.
The latest study in the British Journal of Psychology suggests that although modern western cultures are dominated by images of skinny models, men still have an evolutionary preference for more rounded women.
The results indicated that this preference can still be triggered by pangs of hunger. Viren Swami, a psychologist at Liverpool University's Department of Public Health, said: "Hungry men are much more tolerant and rate obese women more positively than men who have eaten.
"They found them slightly more attractive, although the difference was very small between them and women in the normal weight range."
Swami and psychologist Martin Tovee, from Newcastle University, recruited 60 university students to test their theory that appetite is linked to sexual preference.
"In evolutionary terms, if you are overweight it means you have more resources.
Even today, in some parts of Africa, women are force-fed milk to make them fatter and more attractive," Swami said.