We’re bombarded with #foodporn every day on social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, you can’t escape it. People upload hundreds of food photos every day. Studies show that social media affects eating habits- in both positive and negative ways.
Let’s start with the positives. First of all, combining food with social media is entertaining, trendy, and social. Everyone loves seeing a cheesy pizza pop up on their news feed. There are countless accounts on Instagram dedicated solely to mouthwatering photos of food.
Furthermore, posting pictures of nutritious foods even helps people be more health-conscious. Seeing photos of healthy meals might make you might think twice before ripping into that bag of potato chips. Taking a picture of your food before you dig in also helps you eat less.
However, there are downsides to the ways that social media affects eating habits. Pictures of food trigger an appetite, even if you aren’t hungry. This can cause overeating. A steady stream of #foodporn has the potential to encourage overindulgence.
Your weight also affects your brain’s response to food images. When overweight people saw pictures of food, it activated their brain’s reward centers. However, for people with a healthy weight, food photos activated their brain’s cognitive control centers.
For some, social media also exacerbates eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. There are existing pages and profiles encouraging harmful eating habits. Some online communities share dangerous weight loss tips or ways to hide an eating disorder from friends and family.
To conclude, the ways social media affects eating habits may be larger than you think. It’s beneficial make yourself aware of the potential positive and negative consequences.