It's the most common scene at restaurants around the world: a plate of gorgeous food comes to the table and instead of devouring it, foodies reach for a mobile device to take a photograph. While posting your food finds to Instagram has become second nature, a new study reveals we'd enjoy our meals more if we didn't photograph what's on the plate.
The Atlantic reports that a study conducted by the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that ''spending time focusing on images of food makes the food itself less satisfying.'' That means browsing through pizza porn on Instagram during the day may decrease your chances of feeling satisfied when you finally bite into a hot slice in the evening.
How did researchers come to this conclusion? Well, they started off with the hypothesis that ''imagining enjoying something might lead to satiation,'' The Atlantic reports. Researchers then conducted two experiments with undergraduate students who were tricked into thinking the trials were separate.
In the first experiment, the students were instructed to rate images of food based on how delicious they looked, for the second experiment they were asked to eat peanuts and rate how much they liked them. Then a second group of people repeated the experiments but with one variation: when it came to analyzing pictures of food some were asked to rate how tasty they looked, others were asked to choose between two foods while others were asked to rate qualities like the photo's brightness.
The study found that the more people looked at photos of salty foods, the less fulfillment they derived from the peanuts. However, they reported enjoying the peanuts more when they looked at photographs of sweet foods.
The second experiment revealed that people enjoyed the peanuts more when they focused on the brightness of the photographs versus imagining about how delicious the food might taste. In the end, researchers concluded that ''repeated evaluations of food apparently have an effect similar to actual consumption—decreased enjoyment of foods that share a similar taste characteristic.''
Does this mean we have to bid farewell to Instagram at the dinner table? Well, the trick seems to lie in not focusing on the food itself or in photographing your companion's plate instead of yours.