Looking At Too Many Food Pictures Could Ruin Meal Enjoyment, Study Finds

It might be a good idea to give Pinterest a break before your next meal, a new study suggests.

Brigham Young University researchers found that looking at too many pictures of food seems to increase a person's satiation for that kind of food.

"If you want to enjoy your food consumption experience, avoid looking at too many pictures of food," study researcher Jeff Larson, a marketing professor at the university, said in a statement. "Even I felt a little sick to my stomach during the study after looking at all the sweet pictures we had."

The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, included 232 people. Half of them looked at 60 pictures of sweet foods, like cake and chocolate, while the other half looked at 60 pictures of salty foods such as chips and fries (but not peanuts). The study participants were asked to rate how appetizing each image of food was.

Then, after looking at the images, the study participants were given salty peanuts and asked to rate how enjoyable it was to eat them.

Researchers found that the participants in the salty food image group rated the peanuts as less enjoyable than those in the sweet food image group.

However, researchers noted that it wasn't just one or two images of food that seemed to kill the participants' appetites.

"You do have to look at a decent number of pictures to get these effects," study researcher Ryan Elder, a marketing professor at the university, said in a statement. "It's not like if you look at something two or three times you’ll get that satiated effect."

Recently, a study in the journal Psychological Science showed that engaging in a ritual before eating could enhance the enjoyment of the experience.

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