Consumption stereotypes and impression management: How you are what you eat
Consumption stereotypes refer to judgments about others based on their food intake. We review the empirical research on stereotypes based on what and how much people eat. The characteristics stereotypically associated with food intake pertain to domains ranging from gender roles and social appeal to health and weight. For example, people who eat "healthy" foods and smaller meals are seen as more feminine; conversely, those who eat "unhealthy" foods and larger meals are seen as more masculine. We further discuss how these stereotypes can be exploited by the eater to convey a particular impression (e.g., femininity, social appeal). Finally, we discuss the ways in which using food intake as an impression-management tactic can lead to chronic food restriction and unhealthy eating habits.