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Does Dining in a Group Cause You to Eat More?

Appropriate portions can be difficult to determine, especially when the person sitting next to you has served himself or herself a heaping plate. Compared to your neighbor's meal, your portion might look reasonable, but when removed from the group you might think twice about whether your serving size really is just right. This is something to consider as you rationalize taking seconds at Thanksgiving dinner.

A Pennsylvania State University study found the average person eats 44 percent more calories dining in a group than she would eating alone, and the findings make sense to me. Aside from the comparison perspective, we linger for a longer time at the table and may end up consuming more, not to mention those seemingly harmless bites you take from your neighbor's plate. Have you noticed that dining in a group causes you to eat more?


Join The Conversation
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 8 years
Less because I usually don't like the food.
danakscully64 danakscully64 8 years
The only time I eat more than normal is when I'm with my boyfriend. He eats fast and a lot more (he's almost a foot taller), so I speed up and want to eat just as much as him. Sadly, I'm with my boyfriend for most meals :p Luckily, my waistline doesn't reflect that. I know when to say when.
peaceology peaceology 8 years
I definitely eat LESS when I'm in a group.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I eat less in a group because I don't want people to think I'm a big pig, lol. Plus, I tend to chat a lot with the people I'm eating with, so I have less time to eat!
stoopeed stoopeed 8 years
The other way around :D Being the slow eater and the more talkative person, I usually end up eating less in company :P
krae85 krae85 8 years
I eat more, so people don't criticize me for "not eating enough" or "eating like a bird."
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I was actually talking to my sister about this and we both agreed that we eat less in a group! Because we don't want to be the last ones eating and be thought to be piggy :)
nancita nancita 8 years
I definitely do and I hate it. For me, it's because I have trouble not eating when party food is out in front of me -- I hate to see it go to waste! 44 percent more is scary.
Tiger_Lily Tiger_Lily 8 years
For sure.
rwashum88 rwashum88 8 years
I depends on the company, the type of food, and my own will. With my family I eat the most, otherwise I have a pretty small appetite.
mtiger mtiger 8 years
I usually do eat more, for many of the same reasons other people have listed. With a group, there's usually appetizers and desserts, etc.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
I tend to eat less because I don't think everyone has as a voracious appetite as I do. Wow, bad grammar there. Sorry guys.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
I eat more or less the same amount I normally would and I don't like the idea of using family or anyone in general as an indication of how much I should have. If it's a holiday I might eat a little more than usual of whatever my favorite thing is, but I don't eat a whole a lot more than usual. I take what I need to be satisfied so that it doesn't leave me still feeling hungry or leave me feeling overstuffed.
caty1221 caty1221 8 years
i eat less when people are around. for some reason i control myself much better when im sure people are paying attention and noticing what im eating. my boyfriend is my portion control as long as he's around i eat less. haha weird i know.
crayolasky crayolasky 8 years
I don't prefer eating by myself, so I don't really eat a whole lot by myself. So yes, I do eat more than I usually would. But not a ridiculous amount, no. I always stick to portion control and keep it healthy :D
crayolasky crayolasky 8 years
I eat more because I don't prefer eating by myself. But not a ridiculous amount, no. I always stick to portion control :D
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i said no - but not because i eat the same, but i typically eat less when i'm with a group since it's at times harder for me to find something to eat since everyone likes to share dishes and i am usually the only veggie in the group. when that's the case i'll usually just order soup or something really small since i don't want to have this big dish all for myself.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I tend to eat less bc I think I like big portions :feedme:
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I definitely tend to eat more. There's usually appetizers involved, and often if I go out to a restaurant with friends, we'll all order different things and then eat family style, which tends to lead me to eat more.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
I tend to eat less at group feedings ... and if it's eating out, I end up spending more than my portion is worth. So lame.
Swen Swen 8 years
Depends. A lot of times I eat more when I'm with a group because usually there's tons of appetizers and chips that I keep picking on. ALso, you're busy talking and you mindlessly eat. I'm thinner than most people which makes them load my plate up and tell me I need to eat more. However, there are times in groups where I eat less than usual. If I am with skinny, organic health nuts who order grilled chicken and a salad, I'll do the same and be dying of hunger. Or if I'm in a group of people I'm not friends with, and I feel intimidated or uncomfortable, I pick at my food. Nerves I guess.
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 8 years
I totally do, although it doesn't even take a group, my boyfriend alone is enough for me to eat more than I usually do. He eats a ton of food and sticking to my small plate of veggies or salad (etc.) makes me feel weird so I end up eating more than I usually would.
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