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This Study Will Make You Second Guess If Healthy Food Pictures Are Actually Healthy

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The only thing that makes an Instagram feed full of #foodporn not unbearably painful to scroll through is knowing that that ooey gooey lasagna is in fact a light and healthy variation that you can whip up without tacking time onto tonight’s workout.

Turns out, though, it’s not the photo of the food that helps us turn off the guilt—it’s actually the photo of the blogger or, more specifically, how skinny she looks. When a blogger looks overweight in her profile picture, we’re far more skeptical of how healthy her recipe is than when the gal is thin—even if it’s the exact same food photo, finds a new study in Health Communication.

When researchers at Cornell presented people with photos of the same 10 meals—including cheesy quesadillas, salad, and meat and vegetables—but different “before” and “after” weight loss photos of the same woman, the majority voted the meals attached to the heavier photo as less healthy than the same meal presented with a photo of a thin blogger. Even when the researchers presented the nutrition information, people were still strongly influenced by the body weight of the recommender. (Test yourself with these 20 Foodie Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following which are most certainly not all healthy.)

And while it’s pretty ridiculous that we’re suspicious of how healthy a curvy cook’s food really is, it’s also equally ridiculous that we assume a skinny chef’s meal is healthy.

Apparently a picture really is worth a thousand words—even if those words (or thoughts) are inaccurate.

So how do you know which drool-worthy photo you should be considering for tonight’s meal? First, read The Healthy Girl's Guide to Reading Food Blogs. Then, stick to ladies you know are looking out for your health, no matter their photo, like these 12 Favorite Healthy Food Blogs of ours.

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