You’ve probably heard that being in a relationship makes you fat. At first, it sounds like nothing but a bad joke — made by single people envious of other people’s love life; a claim made without any scientific evidence. But a recent study by a team researchers at University of Queensland (Australia) seems to confirm the long running rumor. It turns out that yes, people tend to gain weight when they are in a relationship.
Psychology Spot, a website dedicated to psychology news, recently shared the results of the aforementioned study, which was published in the journal Plos One. Based on the data obtained in interviews with more than 15,000 people, the researchers have concluded that people living as a couple gain an average of 12.7 pounds more than those who remain single. Obviously, there are exceptions, but the work also includes the reasons that could explain this curious trend.
The authors argue that eating with other people, which happens more frequently when you have a partner or a family, “can have both negative and positive dietary results.” They argue that “marriage and coexistence have the potential to promote unhealthy behaviors, since couples usually do activities like eating, watching television or drinking alcohol in common”. The bad habits win the game more often than the good ones, according to the Australian scientists.
Thus, although family meals tend to include more fruits and vegetables than those chosen by single people, “people consume greater amounts of food and calories when in company.” This counteracts other more positive routines that common among couples. For example, people who are in a relationship tend to commit fewer excesses in relation to tobacco and other vices. But, over the years they also tend to pay less attention to their appearance.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Stephanie Schoeppe, explains that when someone does not need to be attractive to attract a potential partner, he or she does not care too much about whether they eat too much fatty or sugary foods. Having kids does not help either. “Parents usually eat the food that the little ones do not finish,” she explains.
To remedy to problem, she advises that it is essential to establish healthy family eating habits before the scale triggers the alarms.