Food choices affected by what others eat
Our food choices may be influenced by what other people eat, according to new research.
In a meta-analysis of 15 different studies, researchers from the University of Liverpool in the U.K., found consistent evidence that social norms affect food choices. The studies’ participants who saw that others were making low- or high-calorie food choices were more likely to make similar choices. Participants were also more likely to increase caloric intake if they knew that other people were doing the same.
The research, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests a strong connection between social norms or social identity and eating. Researchers said that consumers can apply their findings and help others eat healthily by setting a good example. They also added that more studies could also help shape food policies and normalize healthy eating habits, which would benefit public health.