Retrofit Blog

Is Obesity a Socially Transmitted Disease?

July 16, 2014

Do you ever eat more than you planned when dining out with friends? Food and friends can be a challenging situation for weight loss during the summer months. Chances are your social life has also kicked into high gear. As a result, whether you're on a road trip or just want to beat the heat, you're likely spending less time in the kitchen and more time making dinner reservations. If you're trying to lose weight, a growing body of research suggests eating too many meals out with friends and family might jeopardize your efforts.

For a study published in the January 2014 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers reviewed 15 earlier studies, seven of which focused on how the choices others made affected what participants chose to eat. If subjects were told that others were eating low-calorie or high-calorie foods, they were more likely to follow that trend. In addition, the amount others ate also reflected how much subjects were likely to eat.

"We're social creatures, and when people are eating together, there is a lot of social mimicry," says Brad Saks, PsyD., a Retrofit weight loss program advisory board member. "I think very often people go into eating situations with intentions to eat well, but ultimately, they make bad choices because they don't want to stand out or make waves."

So how do you dine out without having to let your favorite pants out afterward? The five expert tips published in The Huffington Post Healthy Living section from Retrofit CEO Jeff Hyman and Dr. Saks can help curb the "I'll have what she's having" mentality.

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Jeff Hyman Chief Executive Officer

Jeff is a serial entrepreneur with a relentless passion for creating innovative companies & brands. He is driven by the belief that every individual is capable of doing incredible things once given the opportunity and knowledge. He holds a BS from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

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