Food porn is making you fatS

One of the great pleasures of the internet — and quite possibly the entire reason for Pinterest's existence — is to look at gloriously shot pictures of decadent foodstuffs. After all, just looking won't make you fat, right? Unfortunately, it seems as though simply by looking at those amazing food pictures, you're setting yourself up for a fall.

At the Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston, Dr. Kathleen Page is presenting research into the way the brain's reward systems interacts with sugar intake, and images of food. Her research hooked 13 obese, Hispanic women from the ages of 15-25 up to an fMRI, and took brain readings, while showing them pictures. These images were of high-calorie foods, low-calorie foods, and non-food objects.

And whenever people looked at the food, the areas of the brain that are thought to be related to reward and appetite lit up — and this was truer with the high-calorie images than the low-calorie ones. The subjects were also given 50 grams of fructose or glucose, which also boosted their hunger and desire for savory foods (fructose more than glucose).

Image by Luiz Eduardo on Flickr

In other words, looking at pictures of food and ingesting sugar both make you hungry, and Page believes the widespread addition of sugar to food could be the cause of a lot of problems, saying, "these findings suggest that added sweeteners could be one of the main contributors to the obesity epidemic."