If you want to get the most out of your Instagram experience, you should be following a few types of accounts that doesn’t include people you actually know in real life. You should be following one of those baby fashion accounts that shows toddlers in perfectly put together outfits, some sort of puppy account (corgis, Italian greyhounds, golden doodles, whatever gets you off), and a food porn account.
Whether it’s desserts or pizza or pizza desserts, accounts like these regularly bless your feed with delicious-looking treats and provide visual relief from the onslaught of selfies and #squad photos your friends are constantly posting. You think it’s harmless — after all it’s just a picture, you aren’t actually eating a pizza on a stick covered in cheese and dipped in chocolate.
Scientists from Brain and Cognition suggest the complete opposite. The authors write, “Regular exposure to virtual foods nowadays, and the array of neural, physiological, and behavioral responses linked to it, might be exacerbating our physiological hunger way too often.”
Basically what they’re saying is that looking at pictures of food on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or any other digital way is making you hungry when you actually aren’t. It sends a signal to your brain that you need food, more specifically, that type of food, and could trick you into eating a whole bunch of calories you don’t need. Delicious, greasy, satisfying calories, but calories you don’t need nonetheless.
What makes it worse is that if you see a bunch of photos of a particular taste (pizza) and then go out in search of that particular taste, when you finally find that perfect slice of pizza, it’s not going to taste as good. This decrease in enjoyment after seeing an image of that certain food was also cited in the review.
You don’t have to unfollow all those delicious pizza accounts, but if you find yourself ordering a pizza after every time you scroll through Instagram, maybe it’s time to hit the unfollow button. .