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Dressing up for dinner makes you eat healthier food, researchers find

Dressing up for dinner makes you eat healthier food, researchers find

  • People wearing formal clothes make better food choices than those in casual
  • Researchers in a university in southern China divided 79 students into groups
  • It  offered the same food choices to the groups wearing different-style clothes  

Dressing up for dinner makes you eat more healthily, researchers have discovered.

A series of experiments found that diners wearing suits and other formal dress made healthier food choices than those who ate while wearing T-shirts and jeans.

The research team think that wearing smarter clothes while eating makes consumers more conscious of the impression they are making, leading them to opt for better choices, such as a salad in preference to a hamburger.

In one test, 79 students at a university in southern China were divided into those wearing business suits or jeans and offered a choice between crisps and cherry tomatoes as an afternoon snack.

Researchers in China have found that people wearing formal clothes make more healthy food choices than those in casual attire 

Nearly half the formally dressed participants refused anything, while only two per cent sampled the crisps. By contrast, almost 40 per cent of those in jeans ate both, with a quarter having only crisps.

Nearly half the formally dressed participants refused anything, while only two per cent sampled the crisps. By contrast, almost 40 per cent of those in jeans ate both, with a quarter having only crisps.

Nearly half the formally dressed participants refused anything, while only two per cent sampled the crisps. By contrast, almost 40 per cent of those in jeans ate both, with a quarter having only crisps.

In another experiment, 277 people were split by clothes style and asked to choose between snacks of almonds or crisps at a supermarket checkout. Two-thirds of those in suits chose the healthy option against half of those in jeans.

Further research involved 288 interviewees being quizzed on the food choices they would make depending on the type of clothes they wore. Researchers found formal wear enhanced self-esteem and led to healthier food choices.

The findings, published in the Journal of Business Research, also reveal that wearing casual clothes led consumers to value comfort and relaxation, guiding them towards tastier, less healthy food.

However, the Chinese researchers said students in a suit and tie felt greater restraint and self-control, resulting in healthier choices.

Lead researcher Xuehua Wang, a professor in marketing at the Asia Europe Business School in Shanghai, said: ‘Our findings have significant implications for policymakers.

‘Obesity has long been a critical issue. Future research should examine conditions that may strengthen or weaken the effect of clothes style on food choice.’

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