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The “food porn” problem

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Some say a picture is worth a thousand words and now it seems images of food may be worth a thousand calories. New research shows something called “food porn” may be causing people to overeat.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Some say a picture is worth a thousand words and now it seems images of food may be worth a thousand calories. New research shows something called “food porn” may be causing people to overeat.

When you see it, you can hardly resist.

"If you’re ready for heart pulsing blood pounding ingestion, you're not ready enough for food porn," said an announcer on the Travel Channel’s No Reservations show.

That's right, food porn. It has nothing to do with using sex to sell food. It's simply images of food, shot in a way psychologists claim are tough to resist.

“Like the sexual kind, food porn allows us to lust after taboo things,” said Susan Albers, Psy.D., author of Eating Mindfully.

“They provoke a real emotional, and physical hunger response that can be tough to control,” said
Laura Martin, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Univ. of Kansas Medical Center.

"Does that make you hungry?” Reporter Brian Carlson asked one person.

“Yah," they said.

"Ok that's nice," said another.

"Chocolate I love it!” said a third.

Clinical Psychologist Matt Woolley has his reservations about the research but agrees the concept is solid.

"Visual stimuli like an intriguing picture of a meal is going to trigger a drive in your brain to release endorphins, those endorphins make us feel good and increase the likely hood we're going to go after and find the image that we're seeking," said Matt Woolley, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist.

He should know. His wife is a cook, who has her own cookbook.

"In this picture you're not just focused on one bruschetta," said Janelle Woolley, Co-author of Simply De-Lite-Ful.

She took all the photos herself, and said there's definitely a style designed to draw you in.

"..and so in doing that you get up close, you focus in perhaps on a bite," said Woolley.

"Does that look like food porn to you?” Carlson asked one person.

“Absolutely," he said.

Researchers claim the groups most easily enticed already have a food weakness. But if you stare at a photo long enough that doesn't mean you won't develop one of your own.

"You want to go eat that right now?” Carlson asked another bystander.

“Oh ya," they said.

"Gotta have the chocolate now!" said another bystander.

One other interesting thing about this is Belgian researchers found that looking at photos of food were even more powerful than looking at the food itself.

To see a report of the compiled researched about “food porn” click on the link embedded in this story.
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