Categories: Health

What’s The Relationship Between Overeating And The Male Ego?


As a foodie, you’re probably no stranger to eating contests. You favourite burger joint may have a wall of fame for people who can polish off their biggest burger in a specified time. Meanwhile, YouTube stars like Matt Stonie have made their name by managing to polish off enormous amounts of food on film.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why people insist on eating waaay more than they actually need? Researchers from Cornell Food and Brand Lab, a US based non-profit research firm suggest that in the case of men, over eating has to do with ego.

Shovel In The Food For An Ego Boost

After studying a group of college age participants, researchers found that over-eating more was more common in men who were doing so in front of spectators. For the study, the researchers asked participants to participate in a competitive chicken wing eating challenge. While in one scenario the competition was in front of spectators in another it had no spectators. The participants were competing for plastic medals.

The researchers found that men ate four times a normal amount without spectators while the ones in front of spectators ate 30% more than the non-spectator group. They enjoyed the experience, describing it as exhilarating and challenging. 

The participating women, meanwhile, ate less when there were spectators and found the experience embarrassing.

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“Even if men aren’t thinking about it, eating more than a friend tends to be understood as a demonstration of virility and strength,” said Kevin Kniffin one of the co-researchers. 

Meanwhile, Brian Wansink a co-researcher said “Focus on your friends and not the food. If you want to prove how macho you are, challenge your friend to a healthy arm wrestle instead of trying to out-eat him.”

Perhaps you can start with being aware of the amount you eat when outside compared to what you eat when you’re home alone. Preventing yourself from overeating when out may help you avoid piling on those pounds.




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