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Too often in this day and age, people tend to stay to themselves, whether it’s their work hours, or holidays, or just meal times. This radical change in the demographic has led to an increased marketplace for solo customers and has further led to studies to get an understanding of solo dining/solo consumption behaviors. But is it really a healthy choice to eat alone? Is it a good lifestyle choice? Here, we tell you why it is not a good idea to adapt to a lifestyle that involves eating alone.
1. Metabolic Syndrome
Studies show that people who tend to eat alone are three times more likely to suffer metabolic syndrome than people who tend to have company. This condition is one of the main causes of heart diseases, obesity, high blood pressure, etc. Although, gender has a role to play here, men are 64% more likely to suffer the consequences of this syndrome than women. This syndrome is more likely to occur to people aged over 19. So if you are over this age, it might not be a good idea for you to eat alone regularly, especially if you are a male.
2. Truancy in children
A study conducted by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) which used data from almost three quarters from the world’s countries shows that students who do not eat with a group or with their families are more susceptible to being truant at school. The study showed that students who are eating alone were 15% more likely to truancy than a normal student. This is a result of students feeling lonely
3. Increase in stress
People who tend to eat alone are more likely to feel alienated from the society. Eating alone in public places like functions, restaurants, gatherings, etc can prove to be like a psychological war in itself. Looking around to see people eating and enjoying with their friends/families ostracizes the person which may result in an increase in stress and feelings of loneliness.
Having a little self-time to get out of the daily ruckus and treating yourself is a good thing and even considered healthy for one’s mental stability. But many people make this into a daily routine and lose themselves to it resulting in a kind of disdain towards society and again, unhealthy food choices. It also affects how you end up behaving with people in general. If you are used to being alone and eating alone, chances are you will get tired of company easily. This might result in you losing friends and work opportunities.
4. Unhealthy food choices
Eating alone can also attribute to one choosing an unhealthy diet more often. When you eat alone, you are not bound by someone else’s expectations or worries and tend to choose an unhealthy diet over healthy food. Eating with company around urges you to either make healthy food choices or control yourself from going overboard with too much junk food, a restraint very rarely seen in solo diners.
5. Dissociate from social network
Studies have shown that gatherings, where people eat together, are more successful in expanding one’s social reach. For instance, an office party will tend to introduce many people of different departments to come together and socialize which may result in a good work environment and even new good friends. It may also give one more work-related opportunities in life as the people you eat with tend to feel like they know you and might end up offering you work.
6. Eating unintelligibly
There are people who obsess about the type of food they’re eating. They will make strange demands and prefer that over culinary originality, ignore the quality of the food over quantity and even get attracted to dishes that look visually attractive over things that are actually healthy. This doesn’t seem like intelligent eating at all.
But consider when you are eating with a loved one. Psychologically speaking, one inherently cares for a loved one’s health than one does for their own in such cases. So, when your family or your lover is eating with you, you will out more importance on quality and healthy food than just the food’s visual appeal. You will not only eat less junk this way but also consume food that actually is good for you, just because you want people you care about eat well. You will soon find yourself focusing on not only quantity and the price of food but also the actual culinary quality. After all, both cooking and eating well are art in themselves and it is an art that gets better not just with practice but with company.
7. Underweight old men
While eating alone may cause you to eat more, it is also observed that for older men who confine themselves to too much solitary time and eat alone, have a higher tendency to become underweight by normal BMI terms. This mainly happens because older men are 3.74 times more likely to skip meals than people who eat with others. Older women were 2.69 more likely to skip meals according to the study conducted by JAGES (Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study).
8. Spend more money
Chances are that you already know the emotional and psychological reasons why eating alone all the time is not a good idea. You probably also know why it is a healthier choice for you. But the one thing people forget to consider is the financial aspect. You save money when you eat with someone. You would think that eating alone actually means spending less but that is not the case here. You will notice this when you are grocery shopping. Almost no usual food comes in sizes meant for a single person. Usually it is the packets of chips and ramens that come in single servings and they are not healthy choices anyway.
Even when you go to a restaurant, eating with someone allows you to split the bill and spend only for the amount you have eaten. Also, think of all the 1+1 deals that you can avail!
9. Decreased Productivity
People who tend to eat alone are more likely to be less productive when it comes to their work. This can be attributed to less social interactions and stressful mental state that comes with eating alone. Eating with colleagues is said to boost productivity as it is an astute environment to discuss and work on your performance.
10. Miss out on life
You know the best thing about eating out with people? The sheer number of options!
The more people you go out to eat with, the more kinds of food you’ll be able to taste (if they’re willing to share) and if that’s not tempting enough to you, we don’t know what is. Eating alone means you’ll be missing out on not only food but life.
So, eat well and eat heartily. Remember to keep your friends and your boss close. You will realize that even chalk dust tends to taste better with company, especially if it holds the promise of love, long-lasting friendship, and promotions.