A new study out of Simon Fraser University suggests that if you aren’t involved in picking out your food, you’ll eat less healthy.
Brent McFerran, an SFU associate marketing professor, and his fellow researchers conducted five experiments and found that when people are involved in choosing their own food, they’re more likely to go for smaller and healthier options.
That’s because when someone else hands you the food, you don’t feel as responsible for it.
Case in point: If a server at a restaurant hands you some fro-yo or a slice of cheesecake, you’ll eat it right up.
“When we are dispensing frozen yogurt from a machine or slicing up a piece of cake ourselves, we are actively choosing how much we’re taking and how unhealthy we are eating, so we feel a sense of responsibility,” says McFerran.
“However, when it’s served by someone else, we don’t feel as guilty for unhealthy eating and indulging, because we forego some personal responsibility.”
The findings could signal bad news for those who eat at restaurants often.
“More frequent unhealthy restaurant choices could lead to increased frequency and size of unhealthy choices, ultimately contributing to weight gain,” the study concludes.