Eating alone increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, especially in single men, as a study reveals that those who eat alone are up to three times more likely to have this disorder.
Taking most single meals alone can increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to a study published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. In fact, according to their results, men who eat alone are up to 45% more likely to be obese, and up to 64% more likely to have metabolic syndrome.
In women, the risk of unattended eating is lower, and although it also leads to a 29% increased risk of developing this disorder compared to those who never eat alone, the difference disappeared when socioeconomic or lifestyle factors were taken into account.
Previous studies have shown that in many parts of the world, family nuclei tended to become smaller and smaller, and even many households were already unipersonal, and that this affected eating patterns, which had become irregular, and made it increasingly common for people to eat alone. In other jobs, moreover, it had also been observed that people who eat alone are more likely to choose unhealthy foods and consume fewer fruits and vegetables, as well as eat at irregular times.
The authors of the new study decided to investigate whether these consumption habits had any effect on the metabolic syndrome by selecting 7,725 adults living in South Korea and comparing their health data and the information they had provided through questionnaires about how often they ate alone.
The researchers found that single men who ate alone had up to three times the risk of metabolic syndrome compared to men who used to eat accompanied meals. The risk associated with eating alone for boys remained unchanged even when factors such as age, tobacco and alcohol use, physical exercise, and educational and socioeconomic status were adjusted.
In the research, however, participants were not asked about the type of food they chose, the reasons why they ate alone, and a cause-and-effect relationship was not found between eating alone and the increased risk of metabolic syndrome. An assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia, who has also studied the impact of living and eating alone on health, said that she is not surprised by the results of the work, but that new studies should be conducted that take into account other factors that could explain the relationship between eating alone and developing metabolic syndrome, such as stress levels and quality of sleep, as insufficient rest and stress form a vicious circle.