If you’ve ever found yourself eating ranch dressing with a spoon because there is no one in your apartment to stop you, there’s a reason for that.
A couple of researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia conducted a meta-review of 41 different papers to compare the eating habits of people who live alone to those who don’t. Unsurprisingly, the study concluded, “Results varied but suggested that, compared with persons who do not live alone, persons who live alone have a lower diversity of food intake, a lower consumption of some core foods groups (fruits, vegetables, and fish), and a higher likelihood of having an unhealthy dietary pattern.”
Many factors contributed to these results, according to Science Daily: Inadequate cooking skills, no one to go shopping with, increased costs and lack of motivation were all cited as issues. Anecdotally, I’ve also found it’s hard to shop or cook when you never get out of bed.
The study also dropped another non-bombshell: Men living alone were more likely to suffer from all these issues than women.
“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. 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,” said Dr. Katherine Hanna, one of the study’s co-authors. “The absence of support or encouragement to comply with healthy eating guidelines and difficulty in managing portion control were also factors influencing diet.”
It’s also important to remember that not everyone who lives alone is just some single who hasn’t mastered Tinder yet. Dr. Hanna said people living alone cover a wide range of ages and socioeconomic statuses. “For example, a person who is bereaved or divorced may have previously relied on their partner for food preparation and lack the sufficient cooking skills to make healthy meals,” she said.
That thought is so depressing its making me want to go hide in my bedroom gorge on fried chicken.