Purple Paper People Eater

by Jenn (eating bender) on February 3, 2009

Just so you all don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, I’m putting this sticky note up temporarily. Papers are eating away at all of my spare time this week (and purple is my school color, hence the post title), but the madness will all be over by Thursday. I owe you:

  • Papa Bender’s Superbowl Eats
  • An amazing package from an even more amazing blogger
  • Food, glorious food

Thanks for your patience :) In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to discuss an article I found about a week ago that I’ve been meaning to link on the blog: read it here. It talks about how some people may be “hard-wired” to eat food just because it looks good.

So here we are, in food blog land, looking at pictures of food for minutes – and, in many cases, hours! – a day. Plus, I currently have a part-time job proofreading recipes for 12 hours a week!

My question for you is, do you think looking at food makes you more likely to eat it, regardless of whether or not you’re hungry?

For many readers, food blogs are an invaluable resource to find new, healthy products and recipes. For many bloggers, it’s a great way to journal about what we put into our mouths on a daily basis and swap stories and develop friendships with readers and other bloggers. But could there be a downside to looking at food pictures multiple times per day?

Here’s a great excerpt from the article:

“Before viewing the food images, those with a high food sensitivity rating didn’t report being any hungrier than subjects with a normal rating. But after seeing the images, the higher the food sensitivity rating, the hungrier the test subjects felt. So, researchers concluded that the images triggered feelings of hunger in susceptible people.

Such differences in wiring help explain why some people eat even if they aren’t hungry. An external cue, like the sight of tempting food, triggers a desire for a reward.

“We don’t think it’s overstating matters to say that chronic overeating could … be considered an ‘addiction’ for food,” said Calder.”

Does reading food blogs trigger your desire for a reward?

Discuss :mrgreen:

1 Allison February 3, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Good luck with this week!

2 Nicole February 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I don’t really know! Sometimes I get inspired by blogs on my meals, but I don’t think it triggers something that makes me have to eat it!

3 Heather @ Hangry Pants February 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Good luck this week!

If I am hungry, food blogs, cooking shows, etc. make me feel even hungrier. Other than that, I think I just enjoy learning about food!

4 Olga February 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Good luck with your papers!

This is an interesting question. Some people describe stuff like this as “food porn” which makes me uncomfortable. For me, I think presentation is half the deal: if it looks good, it makes eating it so much more enjoyable to me! I don’t think that reading food blogs triggers my desires for any reward…Just sparks creativity and increases inspiration!

5 Sharon February 3, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Hum, that is really interesting about triggering food eats. I think it is just neat to read up on what others are eating and get ideas!

Hope you have a good week!!!

6 carolinebee February 3, 2009 at 10:39 pm

what an interesting article! I definitely think it’s a mental trigger- and not physical…my brain may see food and think, hunger! I like skimming blogs if i need ideas, but mostly just cuz everyone is so freakin awesome and I need to keep up with all my BBFF’s aka blog best friends forev 😀 Good luck with school and work xo

7 Sweet and Fit February 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm

wow….yeah I am definitely the type of person that would just eat something if it was infront of me – even if I wasn’t hungry. its kind of like that saying where you eat with your eyes first – or something like that!

good luck with all your papers! you are almost half-way through the week! yay!

8 Heather Eats Almond Butter February 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Hey Jenn,
Good luck with all the papers. Thursday will be here before you know it! Your school work will be done, and you’ll have a DVR’d Lost to watch, no? Yes, Thursday will be a very good day.

I’m bad about eating when I’m not hungry – really working on that. Looking at pictures or reading about food doesn’t affect me much. It’s the clock that does a number on me: “Oh, it’s 12:30. Time for lunch, but I’m really not hungry. Well, I’ll go ahead and eat so I won’t be hungry later.” I do this all the time. Why I don’t listen to my body and just wait is beyond me.

9 Sarah February 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

this is an interesting topic! I don’t think that I get hungrier by reading food blogs/food magazines but I do tend to eat more if I’m surrounded by food. Like I would never actively go out and search for candy but if I’m in a situation (like tonight!) when I’m surrounded by candy and chocolate and everyone else is eating it, I’m definitely more tempted and usually will eat even if I’m not hungry.

Good luck with everything–this is definitely a crazy week!

10 Moran February 3, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Its a good point your bring up! Sometimes I do think that because I am so interested in looking at food and reading about it I am more eager to eat it. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like the case at all.

11 sarahannmatheny February 4, 2009 at 12:23 am

Oh hon, I hope you are stressing out too much. Deep breath. Phew. I’ll be happy with your post-it as long as it takes, though I have been daydreaming about Papa Bender’s Superbowl Spread…

Besides the awesome friendships I have developed food blogging, more than anything it has shown me that I don’t have to be so rigid with food “rules.” Seeing other bloggies balancing their healthy eats with workouts and treats is therapeutic and inspiring to me! And you dear Jen, are one of the best for sure!!!

12 sarahannmatheny February 4, 2009 at 12:24 am

I forgot an “n” Jenn, sorry!

13 Pearl February 4, 2009 at 12:30 am

good luck with your papers jenn!

14 Lara (Thinspired) February 4, 2009 at 4:30 am

Great article. I think it depends on the person. Some people are really sensistive to visual cues, others more affected by smell, etc. I’ll have to take note today if I get hungrier after reading my food blogs!
Goodluck with your workload!

15 Jen February 4, 2009 at 5:22 am

Really great point! I do think that it is individuelized! For me I love to get meal and recipe ideas, reviews, see the culture of what others eat and my own blog to keep track/accountable for me eats and offering the same as mentioned above! :) I find no visual type of trigger to want to eat or anything from viewing others but I could see how it would!

16 Erin February 4, 2009 at 5:32 am

That’s interesting! I think sometimes seeing everyone’s goodies makes me want to mow down :)

17 Andrea (Off Her Cork) February 4, 2009 at 6:25 am

Not necessarily eat right that moment, but it does make me want a specific thing every so often. Like this week it seems like a lot of bloggers have been having pizza so I am very much wanting teh pizzas! And tomorrow is pizza night so I am trying to patiently wait. :p It’s things like that, one time it was veggie hoagies. Then I think breakfast foods, you get the idea. 😀

18 VeggieGirl February 4, 2009 at 6:36 am

Hang in there, girl!!!

19 Beadie February 4, 2009 at 7:04 am

Actually, I don’t think food blogs make me hungrier, ironically enough. They are great inspiration for me because they give me hope that one day I might have a normal, healthy relationship with food and exercise. They also give me wonderful ideas on recipes and yummy snacks!

20 gina (fitnessista) February 4, 2009 at 7:14 am

good luck with all of the craziness!
you know i’m dying to see papa bender’s superbowl feast 😀
and link love! why thank you :)
i don’t think food blogs make me hungrier… if you would have asked me 6 years ago (when i would eat whatever, just because i felt like it) my answer would have been totally different. i’ve learned to pay attention to real hunger cues and try not to let outside factors trick me into thinking i’m hungry when i’m not
hope you have a great day!! <3

21 Marisa (trim the fat) February 4, 2009 at 8:15 am

Hmmm…good question! I think sometimes, yes and sometimes, no. Yes in the fact that some bloggers have the most amazing, mouth watering pictures of their food that it triggers me, but mainly inspires me to make healthy food! No in the fact that, thankfully these amazing food blogs are accompanied by words that inspire me more than the food! Sometimes, when I’m feeling munchie, the distraction of coming onto the computer and reading the blogs helps me snap out of it! Either way, trigger or not, I Iove food blogs and will continue to be a loyal reader of them!

Now, THE FOOD NETWORK, that’s a whole different ball game for some reason! MAJOR trigger for me!!!

22 jenngirl February 4, 2009 at 8:20 am

hey jenn!! i’m missing you girl, I hope all is well with school, glad we are halfway done with the week!!

I think that before I understood healthy eating patterns, yes, food images would definitely trigger me to eat when I wasn’t hungry. And when people would snack around me, I would automatically join in. But I feel like now that I’ve got both unhealthy and healthy habits when it comes to food under control in an appropriate way, I understand that temptations are just that, tempting. But I also know when I NEED food, and when snacking just wouldn’t be good for my body. I think with food blogs, I’m able to store “yummy looking” ideas in my head, and the next meal/snack, I will use them!

Have a great week, good luck!!

23 Kate February 4, 2009 at 8:41 am

no worries girly!

24 ksgoodeats February 4, 2009 at 8:43 am


As for the looking at food pictures: if it’s getting close to a time I would normally eat, I usually get hungry quicker but it might just be a mind thing. Otherwise (if I’m not planning on eating soon) it usually isn’t a problem!

25 brandi February 4, 2009 at 8:44 am

No problem about not blogging – we know how busy you are!!!

The only time it makes me want to eat something is if I’m already hungry. Otherwise, I just like looking at food for the pictures, recipes, etc.

26 marafaye February 4, 2009 at 8:45 am

I suppose we can forgive you for not blogging :)

I totally agree with Brandi…if I’m already hungry, food blogs are dangerous! If I’m not though, they really just give me ideas!

27 Meg February 4, 2009 at 9:55 am

Food pictures make me want to bake/cook!!!

28 monsappetit February 4, 2009 at 11:53 am

hang in there jenn! one more day!

Sometimes looking at food makes me crave it and in turn tricks me into thinking I’m hungry. But more often it just gives me awesome ideas for meal time :)

29 seeleelive February 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Look at allll the rewards you got down at the bottom right hand corner! GO EB!!!!

cant wait for the superbowl eats 😉 patience is a virtue!!

food blogs dont make me hungry unless its meal time, then i just get inspired :-) i’m interested to see what everyone else says though

30 snackface February 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Goodness gracious you make me want to stay motivated to finish everything I have goin’ on!
Food blogs can make me hungrier if I’m just a teeny bit hungry, but that’s all. Well, I also do most of my blog reading while eating. Does that speak to anything? Hmm.

31 HeatherBakes February 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Good luck with the papers!

YES- food blogs definitely make me hungry… but luckily most of the blogs I read focus on healthy food choices, so they also inspire me to eat “better”.

32 Krista February 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Beofre I started blogging, actually, before I even started reading blogs, I was addicted to the food network. I think in the beginning watching the shows made me hungry, but now I’m immune to it! I read blogs mostly to get product reviews and cool new recipes. As a side, I thoroughly enjoy the new friendships I’ve made along the way! :)

33 ttfn300 February 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

good luck with all the papers! umm, yeah, i’m having a hard time listening to my hunger cues…

34 Summer Slim February 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

yes! i once read that watching tv commercials about food can trigger cravings. i have noticed this happens to me!

35 luckytastebuds February 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

by all means, i get “hungrier”. To be exact, I just have a stronger desire to munch on something, particularly whatever it is I just saw. Food network makes me salivate. Talk about counter-effect of food. If i’m looking through blogs sometimes, i’ll have one hand scrolling and another hand in a bag of something edible. BAD BAD BAD. :(

36 lexisuzanne February 4, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I dont really get hungrier. it just makes me crave the food. is that the same thing? i really enjoy your blog!

37 Victoria February 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Good Luck with everything!

38 Tyler (Raspberry Runner) February 4, 2009 at 10:56 pm

looking at food blogs definitely makes me want to eat more! but it inspires me to eat things that are creative and healthy, so i think it is a good influence :)

39 Danielle February 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I was afraid between taking pictures of the things I eat, blogging about them, and reading through all my favorite blogs, I would be become a bit obessed wtih food and it would do the opposite thing I wanted the blog to do for me.
It couldn’t be further from the truth, I do sometimes crave things people have showcased on their blog, but it gives me inspiration to put that in my weekly meal plans. It’s not a “I HAVE to eat that right now,” it’s more of that looks good, where would that fit into my plans?”
If anything everyone is so healthy that looking at the pictures makes me crave juicy oranges, or a bowl of oatmeal. But again it’s not something I have to have instantly.
Well that was long winded. Good luck with all the things you have to do!

40 Kersten February 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm

All this food talk is making me hungry 😉 I don’t think that looking at the pics in general makes me eat, but if I’m nearing mealtime or snack time viewing the pics seems to trigger the hunger sooner. Sometimes I see meals/foods that I want to try, so I’ll have that food in mind for the future, but I don’t have to go seek it out like right now.

In general, I think that looking at food does make one more apt to eat, hungry or not. Especially if the food is in front of you, rather than on the computer screen.

It’s interesting how you worded your last question: “Does reading food blogs trigger your desire for a reward?” Lately looking at Miss Caroline’s fro-yo is making me want a reward!!!!!!!!!!!!

41 Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) February 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm

I don’t typically feel hungrier…just inspired to create something delicious!!!

42 eatingbender February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm

To all ~ Thank you for the good luck wishes and for sharing your perspectives! It seems that many of you believe that you only get hungrier when you are hungry in the first place. Otherwise, you just enjoy reading about good food! Sounds good to me :)

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