Search This Blog

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Brain food: why single women eat salad

I guess this is something we've always known - that men and women, when in social situations, eat as a way of sending a message to those around them. If you are with your friends, say, an all male or female group, then you're quite likely to pig out and stuff yourself with complete impunity because you know they don't really care.

However, if you're in a public place, say a canteen, a restaurant, Starbucks or wherever, then you're much more likely, if you're a woman, to eat a salad or something with almost zero calories. So says a recent study into thee eating habits of us humans.

"Young women use their food to send a signal to men, suggests the study. Just like clothing accessories, they pick meals to enhance their desirability to the ­opposite sex. "The salad leaves are meant to say, 'I'm pretty; I'm attractive; I take care of myself'," says Young. And the pressure increases with the number of potential partners around. As for the men, they didn't watch what they scoffed at all."

Of course this data is probably only accurate with the younger generation as I can't imagine older men or women really selecting food for some communicative" purpose unless it was, say, a special occasion like a birthday, anniversary and so on.

"In arriving at their hypothesis, the researchers made some reasonable ­assumptions: that the undergraduates (largely between 17 and 22 years old) hadn't yet settled down, were in the market for relationships and that the majority were heterosexual. The argument fits with other evidence that our tablemates affect what we eat (close friends tend to push the boat out; strangers are far more uptight), and that others judge us by our food."

I find it hard to believe some aspects of this namely that, as Young and her researchers note, their female undergraduates appear to ­"believe that men find women who eat less more attractive". Is this actually true? Don't some men actually like a healthy women who doesn't eat lie a stick insect? A woman who eats healthy portions and doesn't select rabbit food on social occasions e.g. when eating out at dinner parties etc.

I know one thing for sure - next time I'm out at a public place I'm going to observe what the women are eating and see who they're trying to impress!!

No comments: