men eat more when with women
Men compete during a hot-dog eating contest spicing up US Independence Day celebrations in New York Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Men appear to eat nearly double the portion of food they would normally consume to show off in front of women, a study has suggested. Researchers of Cornell University observed diners at an-all-you can eat Italian buffet, where men consumed 93% more pizza and 86% more salads when in the company of at least one woman.

"The findings suggest that men tend to overeat to show off. Instead of a feat of strength, it's a feat of eating," lead author Kevin Kniffin, a visiting assistant professor in applied economics and management, said.

Researchers who conducted the study, which was published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, said men unconsciously consumed more in the presence of women "to show off their biological fitness". "Analogous to the view that women 'eat lightly' in order to respond to men's mating preferences, the intersexual or mate-choice hypothesis that we test presumes that men 'eat heavily' in response to women's mating preferences," the researchers said.

The scientists said evolution has nothing to do with men consuming more food around women. Instead, they say men eat more so they can distinguish themselves as relatively superior.