A while ago, I wrote an article about lunch breaks – and the fact that people tend to feel most satisfied and rested when they’re able to choose what they want to do with that time. So if you want to eat in a break room with your coworkers, that’s great! But if you’d rather eat at your desk alone, that’s great too!

So how do most people choose to spend their lunch breaks? It turns out that eating alone is the most popular option. A recent survey indicated that 62% of professionals eat at their desks. They’re not necessarily working (they could be checking out YouTube or Facebook). But they’re doing their own solitary thing. And interestingly enough, they’re also eating less.

When people eat together, they eat more than they would if they ate alone. If you eat with just one additional person, you’re likely to ingest 44% more than you would on your own. And that percentage continues to go up as the number of people that you’re eating with grows! This phenomenon (called “social facilitation”) is also seen in animals like pigs, gerbils, puppies, and chickens.

So should you stop eating with your coworkers if you want to lose weight? No, you shouldn’t! Because even if you take in fewer calories at lunchtime, you’re still likely to be tempted by snacks in the afternoon. Research has shown that the prime snacking time at the office is from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and there are often a lot of tempting options to choose from. (My personal favorite – leftover sandwiches from some catered event. I can’t resist them.)

So if you like eating with your coworkers, do it! People who eat together tend to form stronger bonds with each other and it’s a good way to enhance feelings of camaraderie and job satisfaction. That’s certainly worth a few extra calories!

 

Wollan, M. (2016, February 25). Failure to lunch. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/failure-to-lunch.html

 

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