Ask Keri Glassman: Will 'Food Porn' Help Me Lose Weight? (Healthy Hollywood)

Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet and health questions.

Want to know how celebrities are getting their fabulous post-baby bodies? And, if their diet plan is right for you?

This week’s question…

“I just saw in the news that looking at photos of food on Instagram will help me eat less and lose weight. Is this true” — Jessica M., Tampa, Fla.

Keri says…

The newest research is out and it does look appetizing. C’mon, admit it, you check your Instagram feed more often than you check your office voicemail (promise we won’t tell your boss). How else are you going to find out what new mac and cheese recipe your friend tried out last night or that your bestie ordered the salmon skin roll at Nobu (and why didn’t she call you?) But is scrolling your index finger really the only workout you need to shed those last few pounds? Maybe so, but don’t start your Instadiet until you get all the facts.

“Food porn” may not be in the dictionary yet, but researchers are already taking a look at how the food photo craze affects our diets - and they’ve come up with two sides to the story. In some studies, the reward centers of people’s brains lit up when looking at pictures of pancakes dripping with maple syrup and melty butter, hot fudge chocolate sundaes, and cheesy pizza. On the other hand, other people’s brains couldn’t have cared less. Another study found that “food porn” pictures caused the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin to rise. When it goes up, so does your appetite and so does your waistline. You get the connection here.

In the latest study from Brigham & Young University, people who looked at pictures of salty foods didn’t enjoy eating a salty snack after, and the more pictures they looked at, the less they enjoyed the snack. One explanation was that their brains probably felt like they had already experienced eating that kind of food so they were bored of the salty taste (even though they never tasted it!).

So to snap that photo or not? Until researchers know more, you have to know yourself. Think about how you personally react to photos of food. If scrolling through picture after picture of double decker cheeseburgers and molten lava chocolate cakes revs up your appetite, well then, steer clear of Instagram before sitting down to dinner. If not, then I say go ahead, snap away and check out that instafeed. But why not fill up your Instagram with the healthy meals you’re eating and inspire others to do the same? In my opinion, there is nothing prettier than a big colorful salad with tons of veggies or a bowl of freshly cut, juicy fruit.

Whether “food porn” is good for our waistlines or not, it may be beneficial in other ways. The new app Feedie lets you turn photos of your meals into real meals for hungry children in need when you eat at a participating restaurant. Simply snap a photo of your food, check-in on Feedie, upload your pic, and the restaurant will donate to The Lunchbox Fund to benefit schoolchildren in South Africa. Right now most restaurants are in NYC, but the app hopes to spread nationwide. Talk about sharing your food.

-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman

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