Why Looking at Pictures of Food Could Make People Lose Weight
(SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH) We all know people who can’t go to a restaurant without taking a picture of every dish they’re about to eat, then posting it to the Internet. But does looking at all this “food porn” make you lose your appetite?
BrighamYoungUniversity professor Ryan Elder asked 230 people to look at pictures of food and rate them. Half the people were shown 60 pictures of sweets (cakes, truffles, and cookies). The other half were shown 60 pictures of salty foods (chips, pretzels, and French fries).
After they’d looked at these pictures, both groups of people were given a small bag of peanuts and asked to rate how much they enjoyed eating them. Ryan found that the people who’d looked at pictures of the salty food consistently said they got less enjoyment from eating the peanuts.
Ryan says this is because looking at picture after picture of certain foods – even if it’s someone else’s food – causes “sensory boredom,” which makes people less inclined to eat these foods — and get less enjoyment from eating them. And the more pictures they were shown, the more their appetite was suppressed.
He believes that people’s desire for certain foods could be reduced by looking at these pictures – and this could help them control their weight.