Researchers have found that eating out with a thin person who eats a lot makes others eat more portions than they normally would.
Sitting opposite a fat person at meals encourages one to eat less than normal.
Researchers from US and Canadian universities said, “Our findings indicate that the size of the person you dine with matters much less than the size of the meal they order.”
“If a heavy-set colleague eats a lot, you are likely to adjust your behaviour and eat less. But a thin friend who eats a lot may lead you to eat more than you normally would”, the Daily Mail reported.
Surprisingly, the portion remains the same but the amount they actually eat varies depending on the size of the person they are dining with, it revealed.
So if a thin person orders a large portion, so will their dining companion and they will tend to finish what’s on their plate.
If a fat diner orders a large portion, so will their friend, but the friend will not necessarily eat it all, the study said.
More than 200 student volunteers were tested by pairing them up, one by one, with a researcher at a cinema screening.
The results, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, showed the choice made by the 210 volunteers was heavily influenced by what the researcher was eating.
“Most participants took a portion similar to the one the researcher served herself.
“However, it is clear that… how much they ate depended on whether their companion was thin or obese,” the study found.