Study: Food Porn Could Be Making You Fat

Next time, maybe don't scroll through Instagram before lunch.

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Have you ever scrolled through #foodporn on Instagram and felt a sudden hankering for a big, juicy burger or decadent ice cream sundae? Well, according to a new study in the journal Brain and Cognition, food imagery could be making you eat more.

The study, which is really more an amalgamation of prior studies, has linked viewing images of food to bodily changes, such as increased salivation and (possibly) increased hunger.

It goes on to say that "regular exposure to virtual foods might well be exacerbating our physiological hunger more often than needed, due to the array of neural, physiological, and behavioural responses linked to seeing food."

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The researchers place blame for our increased exposure to food porn on the variety of digital screens that surround us every day, as well as "embellishing technologies" like Photoshop and Instagram.


The study also notes that we're "spending more time looking at virtual images of appetizing foods, and paying less attention to the actual foods being consumed." In other words, we might actually enjoy looking at food more than eating it, and that fact may drive us to eat food that's less healthy for us.

But while the study makes a compelling argument for food porn causing changes in our brains, it stops short of directly linking food porn to overeating. In their conclusion, the researchers call for further studies to be done on food consumption in the Western world, where we are "both flooded with opportunities to eat, and at the same time bombarded with gastroporn."

In the meantime, think twice the next time you open Instagram before a meal. Your figure might just thank you.

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