Make no mistake, there are plenty of benefits to living alone. Walking around naked as you please, pooping with the bathroom door open, and generally not having to deal with other people's bullshit are up there on the list. But that infinite personal freedom could end up having a negative effect on your diet, which makes a lot of sense, considering there's nobody around to police you for eating microwave noodle cups for eight days straight. Or worse.
A new study from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia finds that people who live alone, in fact, lack sufficient cooking skills and a partner who can help with shopping and making good decisions about food. Additionally, the rising cost of food and an all-around lack of motivation to get off our asses and cook something for loners led researchers to conclude that they have different -- and inferior -- eating habits. Oh, and men who live alone are more likely to have a poor diet than women who live alone, in case you had any doubts.
"The research suggests living alone may represent a barrier to healthy eating that is related to the cultural and social roles of food and cooking," Dr. Katherine Hanna, of QUT's School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, said in a press release. "For example, a lack of motivation and enjoyment in cooking and/or eating alone often led to people preparing simple or ready-made meals lacking key nutrients. The absence of support or encouragement to comply with healthy eating guidelines and difficulty in managing portion control were also factors influencing diet."
To address the issue, the researchers recommend cooking programs, increased access to healthy food, and promoting the idea of eating in communal situations, according to the release. Well, yeah.
The study, led by Hanna and Dr. Peter Collins, analyzed data from 41 existing studies, and claims to be the most comprehensive research to date on the link between living alone and a person's diet. They did not remark, however, on how comprehensively depressing it is. Excuse us while we sob into soggy frozen chicken nuggets, alone.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and can only imagine what he'd eat if he lived alone. Yikes. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.