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Study Says Men Overeat to Show Off to the Ladies

Update Date: Nov 20, 2015 11:24 AM EST

Men and women have very different ways of showing off on a date. While ladies might choose to spend a little extra time getting ready, men will be more focused on what and how much they can order from the menu.

According to a new study, researchers reported that men "tend to overeat to show off" to their dates. For this study, the team headed by Kevin Kniffin of Cornell University, secretly monitored 105 adults who were eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet during lunchtime. The team observed their eating habits and company for two weeks.

The team found that men who had lunch with at least one woman at the table ate 93 percent more pizza and 83 percent more salad when compared to men who only ate with other men. For women, the researchers did not find any changes to the amount of food that that they ate in regards to their company.

The researchers noted that even though overeating might be perceived to be unattractive, evolution might have programmed men to overeat in the presence of women. They theorized that overeating could be "motivated by a hardwired male urge to demonstrate prowess," the Washington Post reported.

On some unconscious level, overeating can impress others because it highlights fitness levels. For example, a man who eats a lot and still looks good physically might be perceived as stronger because he works off the calories.

The team, however, could not prove whether or not women actually thought that these men were attractive. Women did state that when they ate with men, they felt rush. Some of these women also believed that they ended up eating more, although the researchers stated that there was no evidence of overeating. The team also did not factor in variables, such as stress and hunger that could have affected overeating,

The researchers wrote, "Analogous to the view that women 'eat lightly' in order to respond to men's mating preferences, the intersexual or mate-choice hypothesis that we test presumes that men 'eat heavily' in response to women's mating preferences."

Regardless of the findings, Kniffin stated, reported by HealthDay via, "people should calm down when eating with members of the opposite sex."

The study was published in the journal, Evolutionary Psychological Science.

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