The more people eat online, the unhappier they are

UAntwerp is looking for people who want to share their experiences of eating and drinking together online. People who often eat and drink together feel better about themselves and eat healthier. But why does this not apply to those who do it online? The University of Antwerp is looking for people who want to share their experiences of eating and drinking together online.

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Eating and drinking together with people outside of your bubble: many people have been looking forward to this during the corona crisis. A recent study at the University of Antwerp of more than 37,000 respondents in 38 countries worldwide shows that 1 in 4 people regularly seek each other out online to share a drink or meal. Unfortunately, the online experience does not seem to match the real experience.

The more often, the less happy

‘Research from before the corona pandemic already showed that those who often eat together feel better about themselves and also eat healthier. People who often have a drink together are happier than those who don’t. We were curious to know whether this also applies to people who eat and drink together online. After all, the corona crisis caused many people to meet up online to share a meal or to have a drink’, says Katrien Maldoy, researcher in communication sciences at UAntwerp.

The results are admirable. ‘What do we see? People who enjoy eating and drinking together online are indeed happier and eat healthier. People who find it awkward are generally less happy and eat less healthily’, says Katrine. ‘But the more people actually engage in eating and drinking together online, even if they like it, the less happy they are. And also nutritionally, they seem to experience fewer benefits the more they seek each other out online.’

Uncovering the reasons

Why this happens is still unclear. ‘We would therefore like to collect experiences of people who have met up online to eat or drink together. What is it exactly that makes eating and drinking together online not equal to eating and drinking together in real life? We want to identify those reasons.’

Source: University of Antwerp

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