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Eating alone gets a bad rap. Like going to see a movie by yourself or to a wedding without a date, unaccompanied dining has become socially unacceptable. It’s often looked upon as lonely or lame. But why? Enjoying a meal (and your own company for that matter) is an individual experience, is it not?
Well, you can now add your health to the list of reasons to get anxiety about eating alone. According to a recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there is a direct correlation between eating alone and the potential for metabolic syndrome (MetS). In an attempt to further isolate single people (okay, not really), a group of Korean physicians found that individuals who eat alone at least twice a day are more likely to suffer from MetS, which has risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and signs of pre-diabetes.
While men who ate alone were much likelier to develop MetS, as well as increased abdominal obesity, than women, this doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. The study found that 29.2 percent of women who ate alone two or more times a day had a higher probability of developing MetS than those who dined with other people.
Though the study doesn’t identify cause, it’s safe to assume that people who eat alone are more likely to make unhealthy decisions. Speaking from personal experience, it’s much easier to finish off a pizza when you aren’t being side-eyed by a roommate or spouse. Other obvious reasons would include stress eating (been there) and boredom eating (done that).
So, next Friday when you want to make plans with your sofa and some takeout, consider throwing a dinner party with friends instead. Or, at the very least, cook up a healthy alternative to your saved Seamless order. When all else fails, try sniffing a grapefruit.