Food

Food Porn Makes Us Happy | The Science of Sexy Food

Is Food Porn the new porn?

If I knew studying food porn was an option, I would have applied to MIT. I thought this was the school where people went to create battle bots and the iPhone 19. Unbeknownst to me, the brain power at one of the top tech schools in the world has been studying something that food marketers have known since advertising food was a thing: make food look appealing and people will like it. According to US News Best of Colleges in the nation, it ranks #2 for 2022 – 2023, so they must be on the cutting edge.

Basically, a recent study from MIT, as reported by Today.com, found that a specific part of the brain lights up whenever we see images that portray food in an appealing way. Shocker! According to the Today.com report, “This part of the brain also is responsible for the perception of faces, bodies, places and the words you’re reading right now, a fact that was discovered more than 20 years ago.”

Food Porn

Does this make you…hungry? | Photo: Shutterstock

The “Current Biology” study found that the neurons in the part of the brain that receives and processes visual information also react differently depending on the foods we’re looking at.

So does this mean that if you’ve seen one slice of pizza, you’ve seen ’em all? I would say, no! There’s a huge difference in my response to a photo of Lucky Slice versus a picture of Little Caesar’s Pizza. I will most always prefer the former but sometimes crave the latter. Show me a picture of mac n’ cheese and I will claim to have a headache and that I am going to bed early. I am…and we are…such complicated creatures.

Subjects also responded slightly more to processed foods rather than to unprocessed ones, so a gooey slice of pizza potentially wakes your brain more than an image of kale or broccoli. I take umbrage with this claim. Sure, pizza is fine, but a freshly streamed stalk of broccoli with the stem trimmed just right with a head that is so magnificently green that you crave to soak it in garlic butter and take a fork to it! Now that really lights up my Friday night lights!

It’s getting hot in here! | Photo: Shutterstock

However, the study does show that your brain’s reaction is really based on personal preference, so perhaps I have said too much!

At the end of the day, we like what we like. Some of us really want pizza and would sleep with 4 strangers just to get to it. Some days, you wonder, “Is that Shredded Mini Wheat in your pocket…or are you happy to see pancakes?”

The scientists still don’t really know the physical effects of this stimulus on the brain, but with tuition being over $57,000 a year at MIT, I am sure they are working it out.

Sometimes pasta is just pasta…sometimes it makes your brain light up! | Photo: Shutterstock

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