Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 6 : Does food at social gatherings tempt you? A team of researchers has found that men in particular demonstrate their virility and strength on parties or at holiday meals at risk of overeating.
The study has been published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition. "Even if men aren't thinking about it, eating more than a friend tends to be understood as a demonstration of virility and strength," said co-author of the study Kevin Kniffin from Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
The researchers recruited college going students of similar weight to participate in either a competitive chicken wing eating challenge with cheering spectators or a competitive chicken wing eating challenge with no spectators.
The prize for eating the most wings was a worthless plastic medal, but competitors still ate about four times more food than normal.
The men, who ate in front of the spectators, ate 30 percent more than those without spectators and described the experience as challenging, cool and exhilarating.
The women, on the other hand, ate less with spectators than without them and described the experience as slightly embarrassing.
"Focus on your friends and not the food," said lead author Brian Wansink from Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
Wansink noted that these findings have obvious implications-- from tailgates, to holidays, to all-you-can-eat night-- and concludes, "If you want to prove how macho you are, challenge your friend to a healthy arm wrestle instead of trying to out-eat him.".