Whether in a restaurant or sitting at your own dining room table, we’ve all done it at least once. Reached in our pocket, pulled out our phone and snapped a picture of whatever may be on our dinner plate.
Some people do it because the food looks delicious and they want others to know about it. Others do it because they’re proud of the culinary masterpiece they’ve created. Whatever the reason may be, we’re all contributing to the growing trend of “Food-tography”.
If you’re on social media, you’ve noticed the increase in pictures of food. And it’s not just us everyday folks. Actor Neil Patrick Harris has an entire twitter account devoted to posting “food porn”, and who can forget Martha Stewart’s ugly food pictures.
Food pictures are fun and all, but you have to wonder what kind of impact being bombarded with photos of delicious, or not, looking meals has on us.
According to new information from Brigham Young University, those pictures may actually be reducing our appetites. When shown 60 pictures of salty foods, like french fries and chips, volunteers were less likely to eat those foods than those who didn’t see the pictures.
Though exactly why this happened isn’t yet known, nutritionist Joan Salge Blake thinks the reduction in hunger the volunteers experienced may correlate with the anticipation of the meal. By looking at a picture of the food before eating it, the volunteers killed any anticipation for the meal, and their appetite was decreased.
This could be bad news for restaurants that have been enjoying the free advertising food photos give them. If looking at the picture is enough to satisfy your desire for the food, then there’s no need for you to go purchase it. However, this doesn’t seem to be happening yet, and the research into the decreased appetite phenomenon is in its early stages.
Until more information is known about the effect pictures of food have on us, no real conclusions can be drawn. It’s interesting to think that something as simple as a picture could have such a profound impact on our daily lives, but until more is known it’s probably best not to think of looking at lots of food pictures as the next big diet plan.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons via Flickr, by jh_tan84