In the (h)eat of the moment: Do we really eat unhealthier when we eat alone?

In the (h)eat of the moment: Do we really eat unhealthier when we eat alone?

To a certain extent our life is dominated by food and the meals we share with our friends, families, and colleagues.

At some point in time, everyone has had the experience of changing their eating behavior in a social situation. And so, we could not help but wonder: How is our eating behavior in fact influenced by the people we are surrounded by? Are your food choices really your own? Or are they influenced by your friends and family members?

Our lives – including the world of eating and good food – have been dominated by this global pandemic. This has created an unusual world, but with exceptional conditions to conduct a study. In the past few months people have been living in consistent conditions for a steady period of time. Some are spending their lock-down alone whilst others have been living with friends, family members and loved ones. Due to this unfortunate, yet once in a lifetime situation, the irresistible opportunity has arisen for us to study eating behavior during a global lock-down.

Previous research suggests that social context influences the size of food portions we consume, and that people are likely to match their eating habits to those of people in their surroundings. In addition, research proposes that people tend to eat unhealthier when eating alone.

Since food plays such an important role in everyone’s life, we are interested in knowing how one’s social context influences our eating behavior. Do we really eat less healthy when we are alone? The results of conducting this a study could potentially help in understanding general eating behaviors and eating disorders which are associated with factors relating to social context.

Research Practical Group 15


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