For the majority of todays generation, Instagram has become the easiest and most popular method of capturing, sharing, and transforming photos. Instagram has taken photographs to a whole new level. All in one app you are provided with an abundance of filters to play around with, and you can even share your photos and videos with people all around the world. From people to scenery to food, Instagram displays it all.
Now you may be thinking what’s not to love about this? Yes Instagram is an awesome app, but can it affect your health?
I would be lying if I were to say that I do not follow a handful of Instagram accounts that solely post pictures of food. As I scroll through my Instagram feed, these eye catching photos of a variety of foods never fail to leave me salivating and more hungry than I was prior to opening Instagram. I always think to myself “how could this be harmful? I’m ONLY looking at the pictures, not actually eating the foods that are photographed in them.” Well to my surprise, numerous scientists have begun to link the excessive viewing of food pictures to weight gain. Articles headlining this growing topic have been featured in New York Magazine, as well as in Cosmopolitan magazine. After research, Professor Charles Spence from Oxford University concluded that “seeing food on social media has a very real effect on our eating habits”.
Now of course, if you were to look at pictures of less appealing foods, this issue most likely will not have an impact on you. With that being said, it is nearly impossible to stumble upon an Instagram account that posts pictures of food that are anything less than 5-star quality.
Mouth-watering photographs of indulgent foods also commonly known as “food porn” tend to range from pizza to cookies to cake to cheeseburgers can be found on almost any food Instagram account. The insanely easy access to all of these photographs contribute to an increase in the linkage between food pictures and weight gain. To further prove this claim, other studies have been conducted and have found that “images of foods with high fat content hit the brain faster and with more impact (kind of like actual high-fat foods)”. Who would have thought that a simple image of food could physically affect you. According to Cosmopolitan writer Elizabeth Narins, some of these physical affects include, “making you salivate, messing with insulin levels, and even shaking up your heart rate”.
Obviously these results do not entail weight gain for all viewers, but if you’re a person that tends to give in to temptation, then maybe it is time to reassess who you follow on Instagram!