Can ‘Instagram Diet’ App Change the Way You Eat?

By ABC News

Oct 11, 2013 11:19am

ABC News’ Linsey Davis, Daisha Riley and Wendy McNeal report:

Can Instagram change the way you eat? More people are posting pictures of their favorite meals on apps like Instagram and social media, and a new study finds that looking at the so-called “food porn” may actually make you eat less.

The study, conducted by Brigham & Young University, found that looking at pictures of a certain food on Instagram or Pinterest can actually curb your appetite for that same food.

“It is absolutely possible,” dietician Keri Glassman told ABC News. “Looking at too much or even a lot of a specific type of a food can decrease your desire for that food.”

Researchers had 232 participants look at and rate pictures of either sweet or salty foods and then eat peanuts, a salty snack. Those who had looked at pictures of salty foods ended up enjoying the peanuts less than those who studied sweets.

“In a way, you’re becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food,” study coauthor and BYU professor Ryan Elder said. “It’s sensory boredom. You’ve kind of moved on. You don’t want that taste experience anymore.”

Researchers found the effect is strongest the more pictures you view, so if you’re trying to stop yourself from an afternoon donut, try viewing as many pictures of one as possible.

Others though, like Natassia Johnson, who has more than 4,000 followers on her dessert-focused Instagram feed, don’t agree with the findings of the study.

“It definitely doesn’t change my appetite—it probably makes me a little hungrier for food,” Johnson, 30, said.

Do you think looking at food makes you eat less or more? Give your take in the comments.

 

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