Turns out, there is a science-backed theory behind why your date eats more (or less) than you do.

A recent study done by Cornell University surveyed 105 lucky men and women at an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet for two weeks. Lead author Kevin Kniffin explains studies were conducted to see if the gender of one’s dining companion affected eating patterns.

Researchers found that men who ate with at least one woman ate an astonishing 93% more pizza (or 1.5 slices) and 86% more salad than men who ate with other men. Women, on the other hand, tended to eat the same amount of food regardless of the sex of the person they were dining with. 


Kniffin tells CBS News,

“The evolutionary psychology view that we test through the new study relies on an understanding that people have an evolved tendency to ‘show off’ in front of others, whether it’s for dominance and/or to show a kind of attractiveness. For example, there is prior work that looks at men eating spicy food as a way to ‘show off,’ and our new article looks at actual volume of food consumed — both healthy and unhealthy food — as a way to ‘show off.'”

While registered dietician Lori Rosenthal believes the results are not entirely surprising—due to the social component that goes along with eating—the study does give insight into the eating patterns of men, an area with little research.

Kniffin concludes, “the findings recommend that there’s room for people to calm down when eating with members of the opposite sex. In other words, people should be mindful that the gender of their eating partners is liable to influence their eating behaviors (for men) or at least (for women) their perception of their eating behaviors.”

So next time you’re out to eat, try and be mindful before wolfing down half a pizza in front of your date.

[via Food and Wine, CBS News]