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‘Want to lose weight? Don’t eat with greedy friends’

Finding it hard to shed those extra kilos? Just make sure that you don’t dine with your greedy frie­nds anymore, scientists say.

world Updated: Feb 03, 2012 00:39 IST

Finding it hard to shed those extra kilos? Just make sure that you don’t dine with your greedy frie­nds anymore, scientists say.

Researchers at the Rad­boud University in the Net­h­er­lands found that the am­ount one eats is not just ab­out the food on the plate but who they are eating it with.

They found that women study participants were more likely to eat a similar amount and at the same pace as their greedy companions do.

Lead study author Roel Hermans said the findings built on previous research showing that women use other people as their model for “appropriate” eating.

“We found a really strong correlation between how many bites the young wom­en took. When the other person ate a lot they also did, and when the other person ate less they followed them too,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

For their study, the researchers filmed 70 pairs of normal-weight young women — a participant and an actor — sitting down for a meal together.

Each was served the same dinner with a jug of water and told to eat as much or as little as they liked. It was found the participants immediately began copying each other in the number and timing of their mouthfuls — taking a bite within five seconds of the other person taking one.

Women were three times more likely to do this at the beginning of the meeting, a sign they were trying to cement their relationship or win the esteem of a new acquaintance.

It’s not clear whether this was a conscious move not to appear to be overin­dulging, or something they do without realising. He said it probably depends on their personality, the researchers said.

“The women were adjusting their eating pattern to the others especially at the start of the meal when they wanted to get along with each other and maintain a positive social relationship,” Hermans said.