A Canadian study has suggested some men who feel insecure about their masculinity will eat more red meat to appear more manly.
Researchers in the North American country wanted to see the psychological factors that push people to consume meat and they wanted to focus on the idea of masculinity.
The scientists at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta interviewed nearly 300 men from the US, UK and Canada to determine their 'masculinity stress'.
The term relates to how much these individuals conform to traditional practices (like eating meat) to adhere to the image of being a man.
They were asked questions like 'I wish I was interested in things that other guys find interesting' and 'I worry that women find me less attractive because I'm not as macho as other guys'.
The respondents were also quizzed on whether they find some foods more manly or 'girly' than others.
The team at the University of Lethbridge then organised a new study involving 200 men from the same three countries and attacked the topic from a different angle.
They had to fill out a masculinity questionnaire and were then put in groups that confirmed how masculine they were compared to the rest of the respondents. For example, they might be told they are more masculine than 65 per cent o the population.
The group then had to choose between four different main-course foods. They were given the choice of a meatball sub, a bacon sandwich, a salad with chicken, or a salad with tofu.
The men who were told they ranked highly on the earlier masculinity test had a less likelihood of choosing the red meat options.
Rhiannon MacDonnell Mesler led the study and concluded: "Our results suggest that men concerned about their masculinity may seek opportunities to augment their manhood through the food that they consume.
"They also indicate that affirming masculinity can serve a reinforcing function that one is indeed 'man enough' which, in turn, should reduce the need to restore masculinity through red meat consumption."
The study also called out a Burger King advert that tried to lure customers in with the promise of a delicious seven-inch sub, with the imaging and captioning of the ad being a not-so subtle dig at penis size and masculinity.
At the end of the day, the study isn't telling you to eat less meat. It's simply explaining that you don't have to eat meat to feel manly, even though years of tradition and promotion of a carnivorous diet has linked it to being a man.
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