Men overeat on dates because they're trying to impress you

Nov 21, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Image: Erik Jonsson/EyeEm/Getty Images

Raise your hand if you're been in this scenario.

You're on a date, and you order something that sounds delicious. Your date does the same, but his version of a delicious meal involves a steak, burrito, burger, fries... all washed down with a milkshake. Then he orders dessert.

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Yeah, many guys know how to put away the food, but it turns out that there might be an evolutionary reason for that. Researchers from Cornell University found that men tend to double the amount of food they eat when with women and that it might be "motivated by a hardwired male urge to demonstrate prowess."

In the study — published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science — involved men eating at an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet. The men who ate with at least one woman ended up eating 93 percent more pizza and 86 percent more salad than those who only dined with men.

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"The findings suggest that men tend to overeat to show off," lead author Kevin Kniffin, a visiting assistant professor in applied economics and management, said in the study. "Instead of a feat of strength, it's a feat of eating."

The idea is that the cavemen who were able to hunt and gather a lot of food were more attractive mates to women. "Analogous to the view that women 'eat lightly' in order to respond to men's mating preferences, the intersexual or mate-choice hypothesis that we test presumes that men 'eat heavily' in response to women's mating preferences," the researchers wrote.

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The depressing part: The women who dined with these all-you-can-eat dudes felt like they were the ones who ate too much, instead of the guys, even though there was no evidence they did.

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