Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

Why women eat salads on dates

Posted in news by jenapincott on November 8, 2009
couple-fighting-at-marina-lg-97744823

Is she resentful?

I have a friend who only orders salads when she goes out on a date. Me, I’d order the pasta and make sure to leave room for dessert. Turns out I’m unusual that way.

According to the latest study at McMaster University, women consume far fewer calories in the presence of a man (or men) than when eating alone or with another woman. Of over 450 people observed in a cafeteria setting, only the women revealed different consumption habits around the opposite sex.

What I was oblivious to when dating is the fact that what you eat, and how much, can affect impressions of your habits, world-views, social appeal, and attractiveness. According to the authors, psychologists Meredith Young and her colleagues:

1. In [groups of two], women selected foods with lower caloric value if their companion was male than if with another woman, whereas men’s choices were not affected by partner’s sex.

2. In our study, women’s total calories were not just reduced in the presence of a male, but also decreased further as a function of the number of male companions (and tended to show a reverse effect of female companions).

3. Women, in particular, adjust their eating to accord with consumption stereotypes, specifically that smaller eaters are viewed more favorably. The women we observed adjusted food selection not so as to match men, but perhaps in accordance with beliefs about what men find attractive.

Is a lusty appetite really less attractive?

14 Responses

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  1. Fiyola Hoosen said, on November 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    It sounds crazy but I can buy into this theory. When I am alone I definitely eat more than when I am with my boyfriend! And when I am just hanging out with the girls than I feel relaxed to just order and enjoy all that I want :):)

  2. Andrew Samtoy said, on November 9, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Is this true across cultures or only in Canada? Also, I’d be interested in finding out whether this is true beyond the three university cafeterias (with younger women) that they used for their study.

  3. E said, on November 9, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I have an alternative explanation.

    I (female) usually pass up rich, high-caloric food on dates because I would be loathe to be flatulent or have other “digestive issues” later on in the night in front of a man I was sexually interested in. Cheesy, cream-heavy or dairy-laden entrees are usually off the menu on date night.

  4. shewalkssoftly said, on November 9, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I must be unusual in this way as well. I’ve never restricted my eating in front of a man, and every man I’ve ever dated has found my voracious appetite extremely attractive! I think subconsciously, men associate an unrestricted love of food with the ability to embrace and indulge in the pleasures of life (including sex). I’ve been told many times that my love of good food is “so sexy.” Girls, you may be surprised at the positive reaction if you let yourself eat!

  5. Renee Damstra said, on November 9, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Well…Can´t it be that women are less hungry when a handsome man is present because of being in love or being nervous?
    I can´t eat a thing when I am nervous.

  6. sandyphd said, on November 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    That’s what I was thinking. Nerves. And being very careful about manners. Not wanting to get food in my teeth. And to avoid having crumbs dangling from my lips. All of this takes extra care which takes time which means fewer bites.

    But I can vouch for thinking I might make a negative impression if I eat too much. Wanting to show the guy “see? I don’t eat much. I will stay thin.”

  7. […] HT: Jena Pincott […]

  8. how to make your penis grow said, on November 22, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Since time immemorial, a guy’s penis has been the power symbol of masculinity and power. Most gals prefer men with a bigger manhood since a bigger, longer and thicker shaft is said to be able to reach a woman’s most pleasurable area

  9. mercurynv said, on December 1, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    i thought it was a subconcious thining they are fat or not wanting to be looked at as fat, or something like that.

  10. lynda said, on December 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    you need to “unapprove” that penis post.

  11. sdfghj said, on December 9, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I prefer a lass who can eat loads to one who has half a slice of pizza and says they’re full.

  12. Juliane Cuffie said, on March 3, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Fantastic post, thanks a lot!

  13. Kaylee said, on May 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I’m the opposite. Infront of a guy, I have no issue with eating whatever I want. I find most men appreciate it if you can go to McDs and eat a Big Mac or go to a restaurant and eat a steak. I don’t find they will judge me.

    Now women, I will usually always eat a ‘lighter’ meal infront of them and always try to eat less than they ate. Women can be competitive and will badmouth everyone. It’s always annoying to go out with a woman from work or school and then hear that later they called you a ‘fat ass’ because you ordered a burger and fries instead of a salad or chicken. I usually avoid the arguement (because I confront people, which is never good) by just eating light that day.

    But I do agree with ‘E’, stomach issues are never good. I always watch what I eat because of just that HAHA.


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