They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – but it turns out the stomach could play a role too.
Men who are hungry are more likely to be attracted to larger women, particularly those with fuller breasts, according to research, The Telegraph reported.
But their opinions may change once they have satisfied their dietary needs.
In the study conducted by Dr Viren Swami, of Westminster University, 266 men were shown images of women and asked to rate them in terms of attractiveness. Men who were feeling peckish favoured heavier women, with more voluptuous breasts.
Past studies have indicated that hungry women are also attracted to larger men.
Presenting his findings at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Dr Swami said: “Hunger can change your perception of who is attractive. If a man is hungry they prefer slightly larger breast size in women. They also prefer slightly larger women in general.
“For women then generally prefer a slightly heavier man.
“In studies, they hadn’t eaten for about six hours and you could see a real difference in their preferences.”
Dr Swami said that the results suggest that when resources are scarce people are attracted to larger members of the opposite sex, as bigger bodies indicate success in accessing food.
But Professor Gareth Leng, of the University of Edinburgh, said the correlation could be explained by the fact that hunger and libido are controlled by the same part of the brain.
“There is a good piece of science behind it,” he said.
“Sex and hunger are two fundamental drives. It probably explains why we go for dinner and then want to have sex.”
Dr Swami also found that men who are deemed sexist are more attracted to thinner women.
But he said the most important factor in appealing to the opposite sex is kindness.
"We tend to find people who are conscientious, who are more agreeable more attractive. The nice guy doesn’t always finish last."