Do Pictures of Food Make You Eat More?

Do Pictures of Food Make You Eat More?

I know it's not the Holidays - yet ;-) but with the decrease in light every day, we do tend to start watching more TV! This blog article is about the brain and how images of food (especially junk food pictures combined with drinking a beverage with high fructose corn syrup) and our tendency to eat when the visual cortex is stimulated.  

Bottom line: you may want to put down that can of soda during commercial breaks. The results of a recent study conducted by researchers at the at the University of California’s Keck School of Medicine show that looking at images of high-calorie foods stimulates high-calorie cravings, particularly if it is done while sipping a sugary beverage.

At the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, researchers presented the results of their findings. The study included 13 obese Hispanic women, ranging in age from 15 to 25. Hispanic women were chosen in particular due to the greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes that exist in the Hispanic community.

The women were shown pictures of high-calorie foods such as cupcakes, hamburgers and cookies, then were shown pictures of low-calorie foods like fruit and vegetables. During the viewing of each set of photos their brains were scanned using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). They were given a 50-gram glucose drink (the equivalent to a can of soda) halfway through each of the scans. During a second set of scans done at another time, they were given 50 grams of fructose to drink. After viewing the images they were asked to rate their hunger and craving for sweet or savory foods on a scale from one to ten.

Not surprisingly, the subjects reported greater cravings for high-calorie foods when looking at the high-calorie images, but the researchers were intrigued to find that the appetite and reward centers in the brain were more greatly activated when the images were accompanied by drinking a sweetened beverage. And the fructose drink activated these centers more than the glucose drink.

According to Kathleen Page, the head researcher and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, “Our bodies are made to eat food and store energy, and in prehistoric days, it behooved us to eat a lot of high-calorie foods because we didn’t know when the next meal was coming. But now we have much more access to food, and this research indicates added sweeteners might be affecting our desire for it.”

This research may go some way toward explaining why so much junk food is addictive. The food companies understand that adding high fructose corn syrup to their products will keep the consumer coming back for more, which is good for their bottom line, but not so great for our health and the growing obesity epidemic in the US.

So you may want to think twice about eating in front of the TV. There is a good chance you will end up consuming considerably more calories than you bargained for. And, avoid the high fructose corn syrup! 


We look forward to hearing from you

Featured Services

Click to Find Out More

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Good Health Naturally, PLLC


8:30 am-11:00 am

2:00 pm-6:00 pm




8:30 am-11:00 am

2:00 pm-6:00 pm




8:30 am-11:00 am

2:00 pm-5:00 pm


By Special Appointment Only




Find us on the map


Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I can’t thank Dr. Blessley and Good Health Naturally enough for always getting me in for an appointment right away when I need them! The only place to go for excellent chiropractic and vitamin needs. Thanks Dr. Blessley for always helping me with my achy back and headaches!"
  • "I’ve been seeing Dr. Blessley for about 3 years now. One thing I love about him, he is on time, always!!! He goes up and above just being my chiropractor. He cares about my health and brings to my attention information I should read or look into. I appreciate him and think very highly of him. Please go see him you will feel amazing!!"
  • "Both my husband and I have been going to Dr. Blessley for years, and have nothing but the best of experiences. He really knows how to get you back to your old self, and also offers a holistic approach to our whole body. He is the best and we will be back!"

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles