Did you know that your friends can influence what you choose to eat? If you hang around with a healthy crowd, you are more likely to make healthier choices. By engaging in a meal with someone, you may be more likely to be health conscious -- chewing more slowly and avoiding overeating. A recent study suggests that men who eat alone are more likely to be obese and have metabolic syndrome (three or more risk factors such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and pre-diabetes that significantly increase the risk of chronic disease.)
What the science is saying: Over 7,770 South Korean adults were asked how often they ate meals alone. This information was then examined alongside heath data and surveys. South Koreans have a similar lifestyle to Americans; life is fast paced and meals are often skipped or on the go. It was found that unmarried men who ate alone had the highest risk of disease. Men had a 45 percent higher risk of being obese and a 64 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. No significant risk was seen in women. Men who ate alone were also more likely to choose unhealthier foods.
Bottom Line: Making your meal social may be beneficial for your health. Slow down at mealtime, give yourself time to chew, be conscious of what you’re eating and try to engage in conversation.
Written by: Charlotte Walker, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern