CBS Local – Eating the most at the holiday table is a classic Power-Dad move. When everyone else quits on their second plate, there’s always the one person to grab that third dish and it’s usually a man.

A study conducted by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab has found that men are at risk at overeating, simply because of their ego.

“Even if men aren’t thinking about it, eating more than a friend tends to be understood as a demonstration of virility and strength,” said co-author Kevin Kniffin, PhD, via News Medical.

The experiment tested college aged men around the same weight to participate in a near-meaningless eating competition of which the only prize was a plastic medal. One was in front of spectators, one was not. The men ate about four times more than the average man, and 30% more with spectators than without.

They tested women, too, who ate less with spectators than without and described the whole ordeal as ‘slightly embarrassing.’ When asked to describe their experience, the men called it ‘challenging, cool and exhilarating.’

Thankfully, lead author of the study Brian Wansink, PhD, offers a solution.

“Focus on your friends and not the food,” says Wansink. “If you want to prove how macho you are, challenge your friend to a healthy arm wrestle instead of trying to out-eat him.”