If you are prone to ordering a grande latte rather than a medium
or asking for an extra-large portion
of chips - you're not necessarily
You could just be trying
improve your status
in life, say researchers.
They claim that people who order bigger sizes of food are trying
themselves or others that they are better off.
French researchers say it is similar to people buying larger cars, houses or flat-screen TVs to try to advance their social standing.
Experts from the HEC Paris business school say the trend is more common amongst
the less wealthy, and this could partly
explain why obesity is more prevalent
in poorer households.
David Dubois, of HEC Paris, said: "An ongoing trend in food consumption
is consumers' tendency
to eat more and more."
"Even more worrisome, the increase in food consumption
is particularly prevalent
among vulnerable populations such as lower socio-economic status
The academics carried out several tests to see if people linked larger portion
sizes to higher social status, the Journal of Consumer Research reported.
They found that many of their volunteers assumed that someone who chose a large coffee was higher up the social ladder
than a person who bought the small or medium-sized version.
In another experiment they found that people tended to order large smoothies when they were with others but when they were on their own they would have smaller ones.
Professor Dubois, whose findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Research said: "Because vulnerable consumers are prone to express their status
in order to compensate
for their undesirable
position and respond
to daily threats, this research
further proposes that the tendency
to use the size of food options within an assortment
will be particularly strong among those consumers who feel powerless."
"Understanding and monitoring the size-to-status relationship
of food options within an assortment
is an important tool at the disposal
makers to effectively
fight against over-consumption."