Weighty issue for dinner dates

New research from the School of Psychology has revealed your dinner date can make you put on weight.

The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that if those around you are choosing unhealthy options from a buffet, you less likely to make healthy choices.

Participants in the study selected a lunch from a buffet of high calorie foods, such as cocktail sausages and crisps, as well as low calorie options, such as vegetable sticks. They made their selections in the company of a member of the research team who chose either predominantly high calorie options or low calorie options.

After a laboratory test, the researchers discovered that the presence of another person and their choice of food can influence the food choices of an eating partner, as selection of vegetable sticks was reduced when the eating partner avoided them.

Dr Eric Robinson from the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology, who led the study, said, ‘We wanted to find out whether food choices are affected by an eating companion. Our research suggests that eating with other people can affect our intentions to eat healthily.

'We would advise people to be aware of what those around them are choosing to eat, and to make sure they stick to their intentions to eat a healthy diet.’

More information on the research can be found at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8600141