Can Instagram Really Ruin Your Appetite?

In a wireless, connected world many of us eat with smartphones in one of our hands and forks in the other. But that may have an unintended affect, according to a Brigham Young University (BYU) research study.

The study suggests Instagrammers may want to stop taking so many pictures of their food because it could make it less enjoyable to eat. Indeed, research points to proof that your obsession with taking pictures of every meal and sharing it with the foodie masses on Instagram or Pinterest may be ruining your appetite by making you feel like youEUve already experienced eating that food.

EUIn a way, youEUre becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food,EU said study coauthor and BYU professor Ryan Elder. EUItEUs sensory boredom -- youEUve kind of moved on. You donEUt want that taste experience anymore.EU

Social Media Satiation

And hereEUs the flipside: If youEUre on Instagram all day looking at all of the salads your friends post, youEUre probably not going to enjoy your next salad quite as much.

ThatEUs because the over-exposure to food imagery increases peopleEUs satiation, according to Elder and coauthor Jeff Larson, both marketing professors in BYUEUs Marriott School of Management. Satiation is defined as the drop in enjoyment with repeated consumption. Or, in other words, the fifth bite of cake or the fourth hour of playing a video game are both less enjoyable than the first.

To reveal this food-photo phenomenon, Larson and Elder recruited 232 people to look at and rate pictures of food. In one of their studies, half of the participants viewed 60 pictures of sweet foods like cake, truffles and chocolates, while the other half looked at 60 pictures of salty foods such as chips, pretzels and French fries.

After rating each picture based on how appetizing that food appeared, each participant finished...

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