It might seem counterintuitive, but a recent study suggests that spending time gazing at food photos online might just help curb overeating. Gone are the days when food adverts were considered triggers for unhealthy snacking.
Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark conducted a series of online studies with over 1,100 participants, examining how our perceptions of food images affect our cravings. In a fascinating twist, the more participants viewed an image of a food item – in this case, M&M candies – the less they craved it.
To test this, participants were exposed to an online photo of orange M&M candies either three times or 30 times. Surprisingly, those who saw the image 30 times had less desire to eat M&Ms than those who only saw three images.
Tjark Andersen, the lead researcher, said, “Your appetite is more closely linked with your cognitive perception than most of us think.” Essentially, by viewing a food image repeatedly, we might be able to trick our brains into feeling satisfied without actually eating anything.
This could have major implications for advertising, as it raises questions about the long-held belief that food advertisements stimulate our hunger. In a world battling the obesity epidemic, understanding how we respond to food imagery may provide unique strategies for promoting healthier eating habits. So next time you’re scrolling through food photos on Instagram, remember it could be helping you resist that extra snack. Check out these 15 Healthy Vegan Snacks to Keep You Full!
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