Researchers at University of Michigan School of Public Health in the US found that wives rarely consult with husbands before "putting" them on a healthier diet.
Only couples who negotiate a new "healthy" diet make progress. Otherwise, after three or four nights of a low-fat meal, men tend to slink off to an all-you-can-eat buffet, they found.
It's just easier to "pretend" to diet to maintain a happy home, said study author Derek Griffith.
"The key to married men adopting a healthier diet is for couples to discuss and negotiate the new, healthier menu changes as a team," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
"I think at dinner a lot of men are eating healthier, but they compensate for the dissatisfaction of not eating what they want by making unhealthier choices outside the home."
Griffith said physicians can help by recognising that wives play a central role in what men eat at home.
"Doctors could suggest that men have a tactful conversation with their wives in a way that ensures the husbands aren't sleeping on the couch that night," Griffith said.
For their study, the researchers interviewed a group of men, majority of whom said their wives didn't consult them when helping them to adopt a healthier diet.
Even though the healthier diet was often ordered by a physician, the husbands often disliked the food changes, but to avoid conflict, they didn't object.
Men focused more on maintaining a happy home than having a say in what they ate. In fact, the only examples found of couples negotiating healthy food choices came about to benefit the children in the home, Griffith said.
However, without that communication those good intentions and healthy diet changes often backfired, he added.