Food photos can make you lose your appetite
By looking at photos of food, people may actually reduce their appetite by making them feel as if they’re full, concludes a new study.
The research, published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology, suggests that people might want to think twice before looking at food photos, whether in a magazine or on social media sites, especially before a meal.
Researchers from Brigham Young University and the University of Minnesota examined the effects of food photos on appetite, using more than 200 participants. Half of the participants were shown 60 pictures of sweet foods, including cake, truffles and chocolates. The other half were shown 60 pictures of salty foods, including French fries, potato chips and pretzels.
After looking at the photos, all of the participants were given salty peanuts to eat and rate how much they enjoyed eating the peanuts. Results showed that the participants who looked at the pictures of salty foods enjoyed the peanuts much less than the participants who looked at the pictures of sweet foods.
The reason for the results, according to the researchers, is that being over-exposed to pictures of food increases a person’s satiation, defined as a “reduction in enjoyment as a result of repeated consumption.”
The findings suggest that it is best to avoid looking at too many food-related photos if a person wants to enjoy a meal. On the other hand, a person may want to look at pictures of a certain food if he or she is trying to avoid eating it, the scientists said.