It might be time to give your guy a break: According to a new study, men are primed to make less healthy food choices because of gender stereotyping.
In the first part of the study, which was conducted out of the University of Manitoba in Canada and published in Social Psychology, 93 adults were asked to determine if certain foods were "masculine" or "feminine."
The findings suggest people are conditioned to view unhealthy foods as "masculine" and healthy foods are "feminine."
For the second part of the study, participants were asked to taste identical packs of blueberry muffins. The muffins either had masculine packaging (featuring words like "mega" with photos of football players), feminine packaging (featuring words like "healthy" with photos of ballerinas) or packages that were "incongruent" with gender stereotypes, with the word "mega" and a photo of a ballerina paired together.
Participants tended to prefer the taste of foods with "congruent" packaging, meaning the adjective matched the photo on the package.
Lead study author Luke Zhu told TIME,
For marketers, there's a pretty clear implication that you want to frame the product consistently with the cultural, primed gender stereotype. We should try to cue femininity in packaging for healthy food.
We're not entirely surprised by this. After all, there are so many photos out there of women eating alone with salad.