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Social Media Can Ruin You Appetite

First Posted: Oct 05, 2013 10:31 AM EDT
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There is surprising news for all those instagram lovers who are obsessed with posting pictures of the food they eat. A latest study claims that looking at too many food photos can make eating less enjoyable.

The research, conducted at the Brigham Young University, claims that looking at too many pictures of food can ruin the appetite.

If you have spent a day looking at a variety of salads posted by your friend then you are more likely to not relish the next salad you eat. According to the researchers, over exposure of the person to images of food elevates the person's satiation- the drop in the level of enjoyment with repeated consumption.

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

They proved this food-photo phenomenon by conducting a study on 232 people. The participants were asked to view and rate the different pictures of food.

In one of the study, half of the participants looked at 60 pictures of sweet food that included cakes, chocolates, truffles and the other half of the participants looked at 60 pictures of salty foods such as French fries, chips and pretzels.

After rating the picture based on how appetizing it looked, the participants were asked to consume a salty food like peanuts.

In the end researchers noted that the group of people who looked at salty food lost their appetite for peanuts and did not enjoy eating peanuts even though they never looked particularly at peanuts.

The researchers explain that the subjects satiated on the particular sensory experience of saltiness.

"If you want to enjoy your food consumption experience, avoid looking at too many pictures of food. Even I felt a little sick to my stomach during the study after looking at all the sweet pictures we had," Jeff Larson, marketing professors in BYU's Marriott School of Management, explained.

Elder concluded saying, "You do have to look at a decent number of pictures to get these effects. It's not like if you look at something two or three times you'll get that satiated effect."

The finding was published in the journal of Consumer Psychology.

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