A joint study conducted by researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab and the Mayo Medical Clinic has found that eating with friends who are overweight can influence you to eat more unhealthy food items.
The researchers recruited around 82 college students and divided them into four groups, with all of them invited for a lunch of spaghetti and salad. The first group was paired with an actress who wore a fat suit but made healthy food choices, the second group was paired with a similar actress but who made unhealthy choice of eating more spaghetti while the final two groups were split among similar lines, though with an actress who did not wear any fat suit.
The researchers found that participants from the groups paired with actresses wearing fat suit tended to pick spaghetti and pasta even if the actress in question was eating salad. The study has been published in the journal Appetite.
"Look up the menu beforehand and select a meal that suits your dietary goals. Or, if you're going to a buffet, pre-commit to selecting modest portions of healthy foods and with that goal in mind, those around you will have less of a negative influence over what you eat", co-author of the study, Brian Wansink said.