By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You are what you eat, but we also may be what our family and friends eat…well, sort of.

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According to recent research, people tend to match the eating habits of their social group. This is an important concept because it could impact dieting as well.

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Seeking support from friends, family, and even strangers can help your weight-control efforts.

British researchers analyzed the results of 15 previous studies describing social influences on diet and they found that if you think other people consume larger portions, you’ll eat more. Or, if you believe that small portions are the norm you will eat less.

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The same goes for food choices: you’ll tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer high-calorie snacks when others do.