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Hey, Instagram Users: Science Confirms You're Ruining Your Meal

The world's first scientific study on how Instagram photos of food can ruin meals has been released.

Hey, Instagram Users: Science Confirms You're Ruining Your Meal

[Image: Flickr user Anders Abrahamsson]

Close your Foodspotting app and put your phone down. Marketing professors have confirmed what many of our dining companions say all the time: Instagramming dinner ruins the meal. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology says over-exposure to food photos on Instagram ruins enjoyment of food for everyone at the table.

Participating in the study, though, was pretty fun for all involved. Authors Ryan Elder and Jeff Larson of Brigham Young University had 232 people look at and rate pictures of food. Half of the participants looked at pictures of different desserts (mainly cakes, pastries, and chocolates) and the other half looked at pictures of salty snack foods such as pretzels and potato chips. Following the photo viewing, participants ate salty foods and were asked to rate how good they tasted—participants who viewed the pictures of salty food enjoyed their snack less.

"In a way, you're becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food," Elder said in a statement. "It's sensory boredom—you've kind of moved on. You don't want that taste experience anymore."