Do Gals Eat Less When Guys Are Around?

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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

An interesting piece in Time this week sheds light on how our eating habits change depending on the dining mate. Apparently we eat more with friends than with strangers. But even more fascinating, a study showed that college females eat about 100 fewer calories when a guy is around.

When it comes to holding back, there's nothing like the opposite sex to curb our appetites, at least when we're single. In a study to be published in the October issue of Appetite, researchers at Montreal's McGill University secretly observed 460 college students eating in the campus cafeterias. They found that when a woman was with a man, she ate about 100 calories less than when she was with a woman.

The more men present in larger eating groups, the fewer calories a woman had on her tray. Women ate roughly 100 fewer calories for each man at the table. But there was no such effect on men. And women who only ate with other women tended to slightly increase their calorie quotient.

Cue the stereotypical scene of a girl chewing on lettuce flecks while her male date goes to town on a double cheeseburger. Er, really? A quick poll of the three ladies left in our office right now proved we are total outliers. Do you eat differently depending on the company?

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