When eating out, an unlikely factor may be influencing how much you order.
A recent study found that diners served by overweight waiters (those with estimated BMIs of more than 25) order more food than they would with servers whose weights are under the BMI cut-off, reports the Washington Post.
If diners had heavier servers, they were more than four times likelier to purchase dessert and ordered 17% more alcoholic beverages, the study found.
The research was conducted by trained students who observed 497 instances of diners ordering at 60 casual American restaurants, such as Applebee’s. Students tracked the servers and diners’ estimated BMI, as well as what the diners ordered.
Why do heavier servers convince diners to order more food and drinks? The author of the study, Tim Döring of Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, believes that being served by a heavier waiter makes diners feel liberated to order more fattening items. Conversely, servers who weigh less may make diners feel as though they are being judged for ordering more food, simply because of their svelte status.
Interestingly, thinner diners with BMIs of less than 25 were more likely to be influenced by their servers’ weight.
A wide range of conscious and subconscious factors influence your restaurant order, from lighting to menu design. The best way to avoid unintentionally consuming excess calories, according to Döring, is to ignore these external factors and decide in advance what you want to order.
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