PARIS: If you’re torn between losing weight and satisfying your cravings for calorie-packed meals, now it seems that you could have the solution in your pocket, so long as you have a social media account.
After all, who hasn’t seen photos full of tempting foods on Instagram or TikTok? Usually, when you look at pictures of food, it doesn’t take long for your mouths to water and your hunger to awaken.
It is, it seems, because you tend only to look at these appetising photos once or twice that they don’t have the opposite effect, actually serving to satisfy our appetite.
Published in the journal Appetite, a study from Aarhus University, Denmark, reveals some surprising findings about how images of food can actually help control appetite, since repeatedly looking at pictures of the same food was found to give people a sense of satiety.
Over a thousand people took part in the experiment, looking at photos of orange M&Ms either three or 30 times.
Those who looked at them repeatedly felt more satisfied, and so had less desire to munch on the chocolate confectionery.
And when the experiment tested the effect of photos featuring other colours of the candy, the results didn’t change. The same was even true for the last stage of the analysis, involving Skittles, candies that taste different depending on the colour.
One possible explanation for these findings lies in the brain, in the areas stimulated by food.
Whether you imagine them or actually eat them, the same areas of the brain are activated. In other words, appetite is determined by cognitive perception, according to PhD student Tjark Andersen from the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University.
So, could looking at images of food 30 times be useful to help control weight gain? While these conclusions are unusual, to say the least, the best way is no doubt to focus on feeling good about your body.
To do that, it can be helpful to eat healthy, balanced meals, rich in vegetables, olive oil, nuts and legumes, in line with the recommendations of the Mediterranean diet.