Who would’ve thought that eating by yourself most of the time could actually be harmful to your overall health? It seems ridiculous but a recent study actually found that men who eat by themselves at least twice a day every single day, were at risk to have metabolic syndrome, which is actually a cluster of three or more risk factors including high blood pressure or hypertension, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes.
This is compared to those men who share their meals with someone or has a companion while eating. This is actually really shocking for some people simply because there are still a lot of people who are actually living a single life and are by themselves at all times especially while having a meal. Eating by yourself turns out to be worse than just being lonely.
DINING SOLO IS A BIG NO
According to a Korean research that was published in the Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, men who are most likely to be living alone as well as eating by themselves at least twice a day are prone to diabetes and hypertension. The study also notes that the families in a lot of regions all over the world are getting smaller and smaller. The research says, “At the same time, eating patterns have become irregular, informal, and individualized in the form of more eating alone.”
The link the connects between loneliness and ill health actually proves to be true according to the assistant professor of the department psychology at Rutgers State University of New Jersey, Andrew Abeyta, because loneliness is said to be one of the risk factors for the most common chronic diseases as well as premature death. “We rely on relationships with emotional support and stress management. Lonely people lack a strong social support system and are therefore more vulnerable to the physical wears and tears of stress and anxiety. In turn, they’re at higher risk for developing stress-related diseases or conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure,” he explained.
MEN ARE MORE AFFECTED THAN WOMEN
This study also reveals that men who are most likely to have their meals by themselves are at risk of being obese by 45 percent and are at risk of having metabolic syndrome by 64 percent. The researchers even adjusted for different factors such as their age, alcohol and cigarette use, amount of exercise every day, educational level, and even their occupation status.
It was discovered that men who are single are three times to be at risk of suffering from metabolic syndrome than those who usually dine with someone. This research also discovered that this doesn’t affect women as much because women who actually eat by themselves only have about 29 percent chance of having a metabolic syndrome that those who do not or never eat alone. However, this difference doesn’t seem to no longer fit when the researchers accounted the lifestyle as well as the socioeconomic factors.
Previous studies have proven that those people who are having meals by themselves feel lonely most of the time and they are most likely to choose incredibly unhealthy food and they also don’t eat at a decent hour and with such an abnormal pace. However, experts straightened things out when it comes to the connection of loneliness and the risks of metabolic syndrome, that is because anyone is actually at risk especially if it is triggered by poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices. This research is also not applicable to every country since there are cultures where people don’t normally eat by themselves.
According to Annalijn Conklin, the assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia, she is actually not surprised when she found the findings of this study, especially that part pertaining to men being more at risk. “Men who were not married and eating alone had much worse outcomes compared to others in the study, and that mirrors some other research that has been done on social relationships and diet quality,” she explained.
Conklin also added that the findings pertaining to women seem to be unclear and must have further research. She also said that the future studies must consider other factors that would have to explain the link between loneliness and metabolic syndrome just like stress as well as the quality of sleep.