Before you post another photo of your lunch online, consider this: People who obsessively document what they eat online may have an eating disorder.
That’s the surprising message from psychiatrist Dr. Valerie Taylor, who’s an expert on eating disorders. She says most of us take pictures of things that are important to us, and as you may have noticed, the most important thing for a lot of people online these days is food.
Dr. Taylor says food photography is no big deal if you’re only taking occasional pictures of your meals. The problem is that, for some people, food is the key element of all their social interactions. They’re obsessed with what they eat, when they last ate, when they’re going to eat again. So, Dr. Taylor’s thinking is that if you obsessively post pictures of your food online, every time you eat a meal, it could be a sign of a psychological problem. Plus, a new study from the USC shows that when we look at photos of appetizing food online, it stimulates our brain in a way that makes us consume more calories, and gain weight. Which explains why Dr. Taylor is seeing more people being diagnosed with eating disorders after they started documenting their meals online.
So, the key here is to think about why you’re taking photos of your food. If you’re doing it to show off something particularly delicious, on occasion, it’s no big deal. But if you’re preoccupied with taking food photos, and can’t stop thinking about what you’re eating and when you’ll eat again, then Dr. Taylor says you need to get help.