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article imageYour waiter's weight could affect whether you order dessert

By Business Insider     Jan 5, 2016 in Food
Be careful who you surround yourself with.
That's the advice, anyway, from a recent study published by the academic journal Environment and Behavior on how we order food in restaurants.
The takeaway? The size of your waiter — yes, the person who's taking your order — can seriously impact the food choices you make.
In the study, researchers observed 497 interactions between diners and servers in 60 different restaurants.
The results were stark: the bigger the waiter, the more likely the diner would heavy up on calories.
People were four times more likely to order dessert and almost 20 percent more likely to ask for alcoholic beverages when served by waiters with a high body mass index (BMI), which correlates weight with percentage of body fat. The researchers defined a person as heavy if they had a BMI of at least 25.
How do waiters affect us? The researchers suggest that a "heavy person sets a social norm." As a result, we feel comfortable consuming more calories since the environment's "norm" is already tipped towards the heavier end of the scale.
We already know that there are a lot of factors that play into our food choices: our mood, the lighting, how a meal is described on the menu, who we're dining with. This is just one more signal to pay attention to before you decide you really need that slice of post-dinner pie.
So next time you head to a restaurant, stick to your healthy eating resolution and consider this tip from the study: do your research in advance, and decide on your order before you even walk in the door. That way, no matter who's serving you, you're still in control.
This article was originally published on Business Insider. Copyright 2016.
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