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If you find yourself suddenly pigging out on sweets and fried foods every time you head out with your fast food-loving friends, take a deep breath and know you’re not alone.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool in the UK analyzed 15 studies about diet and other habits. Their conclusion: We tend to make similar food choices as those we eat with, and we tend to consume the same amount, too. Researchers claim this “suggests a strong association between eating and social identity.”
Lead investigator Eric Robinson proposes that we choose our meals out of a need to fit in with the crowd. And as mature—and in control—as we may think we are, we may not even be aware that others are influencing what we eat. It’s peer pressure, adult style..
But there is a positive side to this information that has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—this type of “monkey see, monkey do” behavior can work when it comes to eating healthy, too.
But if your friends are all about eating and drinking unhealthy foods, keep these things in mind. First, there's no need to scale back on time with your BFF just because she has a fast food habit. For those of you who eat on the low-calorie side or are attempting a more nutritious lifestyle, simply voice your opinion when it comes to picking a restaurant.
Second, don't beat yourself up when you find yourself teetering towards the fast food dark side. It happens.
And third, remember that your healthy habits may just rub off on your besties. Hey, what are friends for?