the sum of food consumed by an organism

Diet is defined as the usual food and drink of an organism. It can also mean a regulated selection of foods, as for medical reasons or cosmetic weight loss.


  • A new study of Marquette University freshmen who had been randomly assigned to rooms found that women with heavier roommates actually gained less weight on average than those with thinner roommates — a half-pound versus two and a half pounds.
    The reason? Four of five overweight roommates were dieting and exercising, and those habits often rubbed off on a roommate, regardless of her size, says Olga Yakusheva, an assistant professor in economics at Marquette and a co-author of the study. Even thin women were weight watching, Dr. Yakusheva says, pointing to cultural pressures.
    Margo D. Maine, a psychologist and specialist in eating disorders, warns that young women age 17 to 19 are at risk of developing some form of eating disorder, and some may be particularly susceptible to a calorie-counting roommate. Why one student wields more influence over another isn’t always clear. But when students first arrive on campus, some may lose confidence, Dr. Maine suggests, and follow the lead of a more self-assured roommate.

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