Sexy men make women want salads - study

A sexy, muscular man eats a salad (Getty)
Fast-food outlets should be wary of hiring good-looking men, the study suggests (Getty)

Getting women to eat better could be as simple as hiring hot waiters.

Women are more likely to opt for a salad over a burger and chips if handsome men are around, a new study has found.

A Scandinavian team carried out five experiments, showing men and women photographs of attractive and not-so-attractive people of both sexes.

"Exposure to attractive men was found to decrease women's willingness to spend money on unhealthy foods, while simultaneously increasing their inclination to consume healthy foods," wrote Tobias Otterbring of Karlstad University, Sweden, who led the research.

"Exposure to attractive males primarily seems to increase women's willingness to signal health and beauty through a greater preference for healthy food products.

"This finding makes sense because women who are described as eating smaller meals or preferring low-fat diets are considered to be better looking and to have a more appealing body shape."

The reverse doesn't work for men however. Surrounded by hot women, men are more likely to splash out on expensive food and drink - no matter how healthy or unhealthy it is.

"After exposure to an attractive female, men seem to display their status and wealth through an increased inclination to consume expensive drinking and dining options," writes Mr Otterbring.

The study concludes that fast-food outlets should be wary of hiring good-looking men to work in their stores or feature in their marketing.

"Having physically attractive male employees may actually be bad, as they could decrease women's consumption of the food alternatives available."

But when it comes to health food and beauty products, getting a hunk on board would be advisable; and sexy ladies are a must-have if you want men to open their wallets.

Exposure to attractive members of the same sex had no measurable effect in the study, published Friday (NZ time) in journal Food Quality and Preference.