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Eating with overweight people can trigger weight gain, says study

Eating with overweight people can trigger weight gain, says study

American philanthropist W. Clement Stone once said, “You are a product of your environment. Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” The quote is interpreted as such: if you spend a lot of time in an unhealthy environment around people who practice unhealthy lifestyle habits, you’ll eventually start practicing the same habits.

The saying is especially true in regards to diet and exercise. If the people you live or spend time with constantly order pizza and indulge in quarts of ice cream in one sitting, it can be tempting to stray from your healthy diet of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Likewise, if your friends or family members ditch the gym in favor of staying home to watch a television show, it can be hard to say no when they invite you to do the same.

A new study is showing that those who eat meals with overweight or obese individuals will tend to eat more unhealthy foods, even if the obese person is eating healthy foods. The study, which was conducted by the Mayo Medical Clinic and Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, invited 82 university students to a luncheon in which they were offered spaghetti and salad.

All students were divided into four separate groups. Two groups were paired with actresses wearing fat suits, whereas the other two groups were paired with slim actresses. One fat-suit actress and one slim actress were instructed to eat more spaghetti than salad, and the other actresses were instructed to eat more salad. The purpose of the study was to see how the rest of the group would react to the actresses’ food choices.

It was found that regardless of which meal the fat-suit actresses chose, their groups opted for more pasta than salad. Even more shocking was that the group with the fat-suit actress who ate more salad ending up eating 43.5 percent less salad — even though salad was the obvious better health choice.

Study author Brian Wansink recommends that individuals start working on ignoring what other people are eating around them, and focus more on selecting meals and food choices that best suit their dietary and nutritional goals. Otherwise, you could be influenced to avoid certain healthy foods if they are being consumed by obese individuals.

CarePoint Health Center for Bariatric Surgery offers a number of different weight-loss surgeries to help you meet your weight-loss goals. To learn more about our bariatric surgery options, contact us at 201-795-8175 and register for our free seminar.

Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.

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