In most states the obesity rate is scary high, but a new study says that for men an expanding waistline is small price to pay to impress the ladies. Researchers at Cornell University studied the eating habits of men who ate with other men versus those of men who ate with women. They concluded that, when men eat in mixed company, they consume 93 percent more pizza (and 86 percent more salad) than if they eat with other men, the Los Angeles Times reports.
To conduct the study, researchers observed 133 adults at an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet over a two-week period. They found that on average, men eat 1.44 more slices when dining in mixed company.
Weirdly men’s overeating stems from a need to prove their manliness and thus that they’re desirable mates. In other words, men eat mass amounts to show that they “possess extraordinary skills, advantages, and/or surplus energy in degrees that are superior to other men,” the study’s authors wrote. Overcoming risk is an attractive evolutionary trait, and although “conspicuous consumption of food is a much less dramatic ‘risk’ than, say, going off to the front lines of war, research on the effects of obesity nonetheless show overeating to constitute risky behavior.”
Women, on the other hand, ate the same amount of food whether dining with men or with other women, but they did report feeling “rushed” when eating with men (although no evidence suggests that they actually were). This makes sense because evolutionarily women can be choosy when it comes to finding mates whereas men have to compete for limited females. So ladies, next time you’re seated across from a dude who’s stuffing his face, remember: he’s doing it to impress you.