Could Social Media Be Ruining Your Appetite?

Not hungry after spending time on Instagram or Pinterest? According to a new study from Brigham Young University’s Marriot School of Management, you could be suffering from sensory boredom. In other words, you become tired of eating a food long before you even taste it. 

The study recruited 232 participants; half looked at 60 pictures of sweet foods such as cake, truffles, and chocolate, and the other half perused images of salty foods such as chips, pretzels, and French fries. Both groups rated how appetizing each food appeared before being given peanuts to eat and rating their enjoyment of the nuts.

Those who had looked at pictures of salty foods reported enjoying their snack less and were more satiated than the sweet group, even though neither group looked at a picture of peanuts.

But don't go un-following everyone who posts pictures of food. I think food photos can have more positive impact than negative. For example, looking at posts of decadent desserts and salty, fried foods can be a good thing: Just imagine how many calories you could save if you can get the enjoyment of these foods without even lifting your fork. 

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The study also didn’t address what happens if you look of posts of healthy foods. I would guess the same effect would occur, so does that mean you would get tired of eating foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains? I hope not. I am going to continue to think positively and go by the results I see in my office on a daily basis. Healthy food pics help my patients get new ideas and learn about portions, plus by posting some of their own, it helps keep them accountable to their followers.

The researchers concluded that you would actually have to look at quite a lot pictures—not just two or three—to have the this effect. And if you are spending so much time on social media that you are looking at more than 60 pictures of food a day, how do you even have time for eating?

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