According to The Huffington Post, what and how much you eat may be influenced by what's on other people's plates.

Researchers analyzed 15 different studies on food intake and choice to see just how environment and social influence affect eating habits.

They found that participants who were surrounded by people who ate a lot also took heftier servings, while those whose companions consumed small portions also did the same. Similarly, food choices of the participants were also influenced by those around them.

Researchers believe that food conformity is a way for people to adapt to social norms and gain social approval. Therefore, if the norm in a certain household is to eat healthy, family members as well as guests may be prompted to follow suit.

If you’re planning to shift to a healthier diet, it’s best to start at home where you’re more in control of the types of food that you buy. Serving your family tasty but healthy meals will not only help you stick with your new eating habits, but may also influence and improve your loved ones’ behavior towards food.

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(Photo by David Stanley via Flickr Creative Commons)

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