New Study: Protein Shakes, Pasta and Hummus Named the Sexiest Foods for Online Daters

Image showing pasta, voted one of the sexiest foods in a new EliteSingles study

Protein shakes can help you add bulk, recover after a workout, and even…find love? That’s the finding from our latest dive into online dating data. We analyzed 33,000 anonymized dating profiles and found that those mentioning certain foods get an above-average amount of messages.

The sexiest food to mention? Protein shakes – profiles mentioning the gym essentially receive nearly 800% more messages than the average profile.

Rethinking typically ‘sexy’ food

The term “sexiest foods” usually brings to mind aphrodisiacs like oysters, asparagus, and champagne. While these dishes do have a firm place in the cultural understanding of erotic eats, our latest study has found some new – and unexpected – contenders for the sexiest food title.

To create the hotlist, our dating data team looked at anonymous data from 33,000 EliteSingles dating profiles, combing them for mentions of certain foods or drinks. The team then compared the average number of messages received by these foodie profiles to the number received by the average EliteSingles profile.

By looking at how many more messages food-mentioning profiles received, the team was able to pick out the 20 sexiest dishes – aka those with the biggest messaging boosts. From protein shakes to beer, tofu to bacon, mentioning these delicacies may just get you more attention online.

The sexiest foods to mention in your dating profileInfographic showing the 20 sexiest foods to mention in your dating profile

As you can see from the infographic above, the top 10 hottest foods list has some surprising entries! Below you can find the in-depth list of the 20 sexiest foods to mention when online dating – complete with the increase in average messaging rate each one brings:

  1. Protein Shake: +798%
  2. Pasta: +578%
  3. Hummus: +529%
  4. Matcha: +500%
  5. Salad: +481%
  6. Bagels: +468%
  7. Oat Milk: +377%
  8. Avocado: +356%
  9. Tacos: +349%
  10. Sourdough: + 348%
  11. Sushi: +332%
  12. Cheese: +329%
  13. Candy: +322%
  14. Chocolate: +279%
  15. Tofu: +268%
  16. Ice Cream: +266%
  17. Pizza: +251%
  18. Beer: +215%
  19. Bacon: +178%
  20. Wine: +139%

Protein shakes do the heavy lifting

Whey and pea protein might not be everyone’s idea of a romantic meal, but they are common components of the dish that topped the sexiest foods list – the protein shake! Profiles that mention protein shakes get nearly 800% more messages than the average profile, putting them head and shoulders (and muscles) ahead of the rest.

Plants power romance

Another clear trend from the study was the overwhelming popularity of plant-based food terms. Echoing earlier EliteSingles vegan dating studies, this study found that profiles containing vegetarian-friendly words tend to get a significant boost in messaging rates when compared to the average profile.

Profiles mentioning hummus, for instance, get a 529% messaging boost. Salad mentions come with a 481% increase, oat milk with 377%, and avocado with 356%. Even mentions of tofu come with a 268% boost. In news that will delight some and horrify others, this puts tofu higher on the sexy food list than the only truly meaty mention – bacon (+178%).

Comfort food is attractive

Yet despite the proliferation of healthier items, the sexiest food list is not without its comfort items. After all, the second biggest messaging boost on the list goes to pasta, with mentions gaining a 578% increase. Other carb-friendly foods include bagels (+468%) and sourdough (+348%).

Mentioning your favorite takeout or junk food could also boost your online popularity. Profiles mentioning candy get 329% more messages than the average profile, chocolate mentions bring in a 279% messaging increase, and ice cream a 266% uplift.

In the dinner date takeout stakes, taco mentions see a 349% boost in messages, sushi fans see a 332% increase, and those who prefer pizza get a 251% boost.

You can’t forget the classics

While the sexiest food list does contain surprising entries like protein shakes and oat milk, there were also some classic components. For many people, a romantic dinner date means cheese and wine (or perhaps a craft beer), and so it’s no surprise that all three items made the top 20. Profiles mentioning cheese get a 329% incoming message uplift, beer brings in a 215% boost, and wine rounds out the top 20 with a 139% increase.

The food of love

As the study shows, profiles mentioning certain dishes get a vast increase in incoming messages. So why is it that food and drink are so sexy? And why can they make can make such good icebreakers?

In a previous EliteSingles study about food and dating, the expert suggestion was that it has something to do with the fact that “eating together is, without a doubt, one of the most intimate things a couple can do – without taking their clothes off!”

Perhaps there is something to that: learning what food someone likes is an easy way to feel intimate with them, especially if you share similar tastes. And feeling that intimacy could make it easier to reach out and write a first message. Or, perhaps, it’s simply true that the way to people’s hearts is indeed through their stomachs.


What food would make you want to drop everything and write to someone immediately? Have your say – you can get in touch on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the author: Sophie Watson

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