Staring at Food on Instagram & Pinterest Found to Make Food Less Enjoyable

Staring at Food on Instagram & Pinterest Found to Make Food Less Enjoyable

Gregory Han
Oct 9, 2013

Apparently our culture's obsession with documenting and sharing everything we see and eat online might be detracting from our overall enjoyment of foods (not to mention the wait fellow diners have to endure while fellow diners stage and photograph meals). A recently revealed study by researchers at Brigham Young University discovered the joys related to eating certain foods lessened with excessive visual exposure of similarly flavored foods...

Supposedly looking at all these photos from our sister site The Kitchn's Pinterest board will dampen the taste experience. The growling stomach says otherwise.

Brigham Young University researchers report:

"Repeated evaluations of food [by 232 test subjects] apparently have an effect similar to actual consumption—decreased enjoyment of foods that share a similar taste characteristic (i.e., sensory-specific satiety). We provide mediation evidence to show that satiation manifests because considering a food engenders spontaneous simulations of the taste of that food item, which by itself is enough to produce satiation."

In other words, staring at countless photos of pie, cupcakes, and cake on Instagam, Pinterest, Facebook, or anywhere else can trick the mind into believing it has already indulged in sweet foods (the effect only manifests after looking "at a decent number of pictures"). When you actually do take a bite of something similarly sweet (or salty, savory, fried, etc), the brain and taste buds may offer back a "meh", since your appetite has been spoiled by the visual sensory overload connected with imagined consumption. Apparently our brains are hardwired to notify our taste buds when enough is enough.

One wonders if staring at choice Instagrams and Pinterest pages could help with intentionally curbing food desires. I don't know, but all I know is I really want a cupcake now.

Via The Star Online

(Images: Syda Productions/Shutterstock; The Kitchn)

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