Supersize Food Lovers Are Secretly Insecure About This

supersize mealYou know that cliche about men who drive a big car or carry a big gun are just compensating for a smaller package? Well, when it comes to food, there may actually be something to that cliche. Apparently when people are feeling powerless and alone, they tend to choose larger portions of food. We link status with larger-sized food products.

So if you're a venti kind of gal, it might be that you're trying to find your crown through your coffee. And guess what? You're not going to find it. You're just going to find a bigger caffeine buzz. But maybe that's almost as good, at least for the next two hours. Still, maybe it's not such a good idea to buy food when you're feeling small.


A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that people who bought bigger pizzas, coffees, or smoothies were seen as having higher status than people who chose smaller sizes. And in a related study, people who feel powerless tended to buy larger sizes of food, too -- especially when they were in public. Being seen with larger-sized food makes people feel bigger. Um, metaphorically, that is.

When you order the super-sized meal, you're basically waving a huge I'm a Big Important Lady flag. Yoo hoo, look at me everybody! I'm fancy! I'm ordering the larger size, so get outta my way, peons! Lord have mercy, no wonder waistlines are expanding. Combine this mindset with a floundering economy where everyone feels scared and penniless and you've got a recipe for overeating.

This also explains why Starbucks uses synonyms for "large" for their smaller sizes: tall, grande. Are they afraid customers will associate "small" with "poor lowly Oliver-type character" -- please, sir, may I have some more?

Less is more, people! Less is more. When are we going to see smaller sizes as a status signal? Shall I start? All right. Ooooh, look at me! I ordered the short coffee. Did you even know short was a size at Starbucks? Well it is, and only fancy, important people like me know. And only fancy, important people like me are secure enough to order it!

Do you suspect people order super-sized meals to compensate for feeling small?


Image via jetalone/Flickr

Read More >