Pictures of Food on Instagram Can Ruin Your Appetite!

   |  Updated: October 08, 2013 15:03 IST

Pictures of Food on Instagram Can Ruin Your Appetite!
Instagram users, you may want to stop taking so many pictures of your food!

Looking at too many pictures of food can actually make it less enjoyable to eat, according to a new study.

Researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) found that if your friends are taking pictures of everything they eat and posting it on Instagram or Pinterest it may be ruining your appetite by making you feel like you've already experienced eating that food.

"In a way, you're becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food. It's sensory boredom - you've kind of moved on. You don't want that taste experience anymore," said study co-author and BYU professor Ryan Elder.

Elder and coauthor Jeff Larson, both marketing professors in BYU's Marriott School of Management, said that over-exposure to food imagery increases people's satiation.

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Satiation is defined as the drop in enjoyment with repeated consumption. Or, in other words, the fifth bite of cake or the fourth hour of playing a video game are both less enjoyable than the first. Larson and Elder recruited 232 people to look at and rate pictures of food. In one of their studies, half of the participants viewed 60 pictures of sweet foods like cake, truffles and chocolates, while the other half looked at 60 pictures of salt foods such as chips, pretzels and French fries.After rating each picture based on how appetising that food appeared, each participant finished the experiment by eating peanuts, a salty food. Participants then rated how much they enjoyed eating the peanuts. In the end, the people who had looked at the salty foods ended up enjoying the peanuts less, even though they never looked at peanuts, just at other salty foods. The researchers said the subjects satiated on the specific sensory experience
of saltiness.

CommentsLarson and Elder, along with University of Minnesota coauthor Joseph Redden, published their findings in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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