Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Looking at a Photo of Pizza Could Make Food Taste Better...

By Magdeline Lum

... and eating cake at breakfast can help you keep weight off.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

It is not much of a surprise that looking at images of high calorie foods like pizza and hamburgers may make you crave these foods. A small study led by Johannes le Coutre of the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland has found that if you eat one type of food while looking at photos of high calorie foods you will think that the food you are eating tastes better.

The study involved 14 participants (9 males) between the ages of 22 and 30. They were presented with 150 photos of which 100 were food items and 50 were kitchen utensils. The task was to identify the photographs as food or non-food. The participants were not aware that their perception of taste was being tested.

Each of the participants had an electrode (referred to as the “taste stimulus”) placed on their tongue to allow researchers to monitor brain activity in response to the photographs. The study’s authors concluded: "When viewing high-calorie food images, participants reported the subsequent taste to be more pleasant than when low-calorie food images preceded the identical taste”.

Vision provides sensory information for food perception. It can raise expectations on taste and nutritional value, and help determine whether to accept or reject a food source.

Based on the results of this test, the solution for a bland lunch could be as easy as looking at a photo of a pizza or hamburger...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.