I’ve always seen memes and jokes about how men eat so much faster than women, with men clearing plates before women can take a third bite. I always kind of thought this was a bogus take and a little bit dramatized until just the other night when I became a victim of the couple-eating-pace-discrepancy. My boyfriend and I were having wings, and after finishing four of my wings, I looked up to find that he had eaten nine. That’s over twice as fast!

Now that I understand this distinct eating difference, I realized I’m not the only one. Recently, couples on TikTok have started a new trend that truly showcases just how fast some men eat. The trend has the girlfriend set up a camera during a meal with her boyfriend. For each bite he takes of whatever food — burger, fries, sip of soda — his girlfriend takes a bite of the same size, mimicking his eating pace. The first one I saw was from @aileenchristineee, who posts a lot of content with her boyfriend, Deven. After just ten seconds and three bites, Aileen is tapping on her chest, already a bite behind Deven.

Many of these female participants have trouble breathing (and laughing) through matching the huge bites that their boyfriends take, trying super hard to swallow with comedic zooms and captions. It’s hard to tell who started this trend, because so many notable content creators have taken part in it. The popularity of the trend begs the question: do men really eat faster than women?

Where does the belief that men eat faster come from?

Before I get into the science, I want to make it clear that this eating pace definitely does not support a men-are-biologically-better-than-women type of claim. Lots of research actually shows that chewing and eating slower is better for your digestion, your teeth, and feeling full. It also can lead to a more enjoyable eating experience, where you’re savoring your food more.

The claim that men eat faster than women is most of the time backed by a 2015 study done by South Korea’s Semyung University. Twenty-four men and 24 women — all undergraduates — were tasked with eating 152 grams of rice with electrodes hooked up to their jaws to test characteristics like chewing pace, chewing strength, bite size, and chewing duration. Small disclaimer: this is a relatively small sample pool, and only covers one age group, so take it all with a grain of salt. The study was created to try and link weight trends with chewing patterns, but the results showed something even more interesting.

Do men actually eat faster than women?

What the study found actually disproves this TikTok trend: men and women actually chew at very similar paces; that is, in the study, they were chewing the same number of times per minute. The difference comes from the fact that men take bigger bites than women, and they also exercise larger chewing force. Women also chew each mouthful for longer than men.

So technically, the claim that men eat faster than women is a myth when it comes to pace, because the explanation comes down to bite size and how hard you chew. And you can kind of tell in this TikTok trend that a lot of the women start to fall behind just trying to make a bite the same size as their partner. But I’d like to see what would happen if you hooked up my jaw to electrodes when I’m really hungry — I know I could house just as much food just as fast as my boyfriend.