When you say "I do," you are not just signing up for a lifetime of togetherness -- you're also, apparently, signing up for shared eating habits.
Researchers analyzed the eating patterns of more than 3,000 participants in the ongoing Framingham Heart Study to determine whether social ties influence eating behaviors and exactly how they do so. They considered the role that spouses, friends, brothers and sisters played over the course of 10 years. Overall, the analysis, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, found that couples had the greatest impact on one another's dietary patterns.
"The hypothesis is that your eating behavior is going to be affected by those around you," said Paul F. Jacques, D.Sc., director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Program at Tufts University and one of the study's authors.
"With spouses, it has a lot to do with the stronger shared environment," he added. "One person is probably preparing food for the other frequently."
But it wasn't just couples who influenced one another; friends also appeared to share certain eating patterns, particularly when it came to regular consumption of alcohol and snacks. (For purposes of analysis, the researchers grouped the individuals into seven distinct patterns, including meat and soda eaters, sweets eaters and those who avoid caffeine.)