LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The recent trend of “Food-tography”, or snapping a shot of your meal to share with your friends over social media, may have a greater impact on nutrition than you think.
Most people who use social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram are familiar with regularly seeing photos of food, posted by their friends and family. Actor Neil Patrick Harris has a Twitter account, with a reported 80,000 followers, that is dedicated exclusively to share the places he likes to eat at.
The age of social media has rewarded the food industry, as restaurants are taking advantage of free advertising.
“It’s cool to get our pappardelle bolognese out on Instagram,” Crossroads Restaurant Executive Chef Tal Ronnen said. “People look at it, and they look at the homemade pasta that we make. It looks like it has egg yolks in it, but it doesn’t. The bolognese sauce is really meaty, and without that photo, it’s harder to tell that story.”
However, a recent study at Brigham Young University now suggests that repeatedly looking at foods you enjoy may actually reduce your appetite.
In the study, volunteers were shown 60 pictures of salty foods, including french fries and chips, and were compared with volunteers who were not shown any pictures at all.
The results showed that the volunteers who were shown the pictures were less likely to eat those foods than those who were not shown pictures.
Nutritionist Joan Salge Blake suggests the reduction in hunger may have a correlation with the anticipation or excitement of one’s meal.
“It seems like, from the study, really interesting that when people look at pictures, and they are really looking at the food and almost mentally tasting the food, it can have the impact like they have consumed it already, and it may decrease the excitement of it when they go to eat it,” Blake said.
While Blake says it is possible that the study is on to something, more research still needs to be performed.