How we eat less on a date if our part­ner’s at­trac­tive

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Roger Dob­don

A RO­MAN­TIC meal out has tra­di­tion­ally been viewed as a sure-fire way of woo­ing a prospec­tive part­ner.

But if your date chooses steak and chips in pref­er­ence to a rocket salad, it might be that he or she just isn’t that into you.

New re­search sug­gests men and women curb their ap­petite for food in or­der to boost their chances with an at­trac­tive date.

Ex­per­i­ments found that, if the com­pan­ion across the ta­ble is at­trac­tive, both men and women will re­duce their calo­rie count by up to 20 per cent. Ex­perts sus­pect ‘sig­nalling the­ory’ – where ‘peo­ple show their de­sire to be healthy to a po­ten­tial mate by eat­ing less’ – may ex­plain the re­sults.

‘It could be said that peo­ple ad­here to the mantra of “you are what you eat” – eat­ing low-calo­rie meals in an ef­fort to ap­pear health­ier and more at­trac­tive in the pres­ence of a din­ing part­ner,’ say re­searchers writ­ing in the jour­nal Ap­petite.

‘If one or­ders a high-calo­rie meal, this be­hav­iour may sig­nal a lack of con­cern re­gard­ing per­sonal health.’

The re­searchers from East Carolina in the US an­a­lysed what 600 men and women ate when faced with din­ing in dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, in­clud­ing with op­po­site sex part­ners pre­vi­ously awarded high or low marks for at­trac­tive­ness. Din­ers were of­fered soups, sal­ads, sand­wiches, steaks, ribs, burg­ers, chicken and seafood.

When din­ing with some­one of the same sex, the meal choices re­mained the same, at around 1,400 calo­ries.

How­ever, sin­gle peo­ple chose food with 1,700 calo­ries when din­ing with some­one rated as hav­ing low lev­els of at­trac­tive­ness, but that dropped to 1,400 when with a highly at­trac­tive part­ner.

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