Any dude knows that when you’re out with fellow dudes—old hometown buddies, your work friends, your brother-in-law—it’s only a matter of time before one guy (usually your brother-in-law) has to prove just how much tougher he is than everyone else. Touch football becomes tackle football. A driveway shootaround becomes a game of HORSE to the death. And pretty much any meal becomes an all-you-can-eat contest of willpower, tolerance for spicy food, and sheer intestinal fortitude.
To make sure it wasn’t just us, we asked the fitness fanatics of the Men’s Fitness Twitter feed if it happened to them, too. And you guys did not disappoint:
POLL: Do you overeat more often when you’re with your friends?
— Men's Fitness Wire (@MensFitnessWire) December 16, 2016
So what’s the deal with all this communal-stuffing-of-our-pieholes? Here’s a theory: Guys have a tendency to overeat in social situations—yes, even brunch—because we’re subconsciously trying to “out-eat our peers to demonstrate virility and strength.”
It’s called “exhibitionist eating,” according to a new study from the Cornell Food Lab, which tested the phenomenon by asking college guys to competitively eat chicken wings in one of two settings: in front of cheering spectators, or without anyone else around. The guys who ate in front of a studio audience ate 30% more than the control group—and four times more than they needed to eat for regular nutrition.
And while most dudes would just call that getting hype AF, it’s a signal to check your plate before you wreck your gut. Besides: If you’re reading Men’s Fitness, there’s a pretty good chance you can bench-press more than your brother-in-law anyway.