From restaurants encouraging diners to take Instagram photos of their dishes to other eateries outright banning food photography, it's hard to dispute Instagram's influence on the way we eat, prepare, and enjoy food. And as it turns out, taking a moment to capture the giant lobster breakfast burrito or perfect NYC bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich won't just score you some likes; it could also have a positive impact on your health, according to new research.
A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing suggests your proclivity for pausing to photograph your plate might actually have a measurable influence on you, according to a report by Munchies. Marketing researchers found that the moment (or minutes, depending on how anal you are about angles and lighting) you take to snap a photo can increase the food's desirability and change your perception of it when you finally freaking eat it.
"It is shown that producing [consumer-generated images] causes a momentary active delay in consumption, which increases the savoring associated with consumption of pleasurable (i.e. indulgent) foods and, in effect, increases attitudes and taste evaluations of the experience when consumption actually takes place," the researchers said in the study's abstract. But most importantly, the researchers discovered the same effect with healthier foods, too, which means you might eat them more often.
"When descriptive social norms regarding healthy eating are made salient, CGI can also lead to more favorable outcomes for less pleasurable (i.e. healthy) foods," the researchers said.
In other words, pausing to admire and photograph -- Instagram or it didn't happen! -- health food could potentially make you enjoy healthy food, per the report. Just keep that in mind the next time your friends give you crap for whipping your phone out at the dinner table.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and hasn't taken many Instagram food photos lately. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.