#FoodPorn Images Linked to Mood, Cravings, and Poor Food Choices: Study Raises Concerns for Young People

ByThe Counter Journal

A new study published in the journal Appetite suggests that frequent exposure to images of junk food on social media platforms like Instagram can negatively impact mood, promote unhealthy cravings, and influence users’ food choices. This raises concerns about the potential influence of social media on young people’s health and eating habits.

Researchers from Lebanese American University conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 63 participants aged 18-24. After completing an initial questionnaire, participants were exposed to 15 minutes of Instagram content – either a control account or one filled with “foodporn” images featuring junk food. Following this, they reported their perceived body image, mood, and food cravings. The process was repeated a week later with the content switched between groups.

The study found that exposure to junk food content was associated with:

  • Increased feelings of hunger, sadness, and exhaustion.
  • Greater cravings for fatty and salty foods.
  • A higher preference for junk food when choosing a hypothetical meal.

While no link was found between junk food content and body image dissatisfaction, the researchers noted that participants exposed to these images were significantly more likely to select unhealthy options compared to those in the control group.

This research builds upon previous studies exploring the connection between social media and physical and mental well-being. With the growing popularity of food-related content online, further investigations into its long-term effects on individuals and public health are warranted.

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