If your Insta feed is anything like ours, one quick swipe means you’re drooling over pics of gorgeous cakes, bowls of #oatporn, and slices of glittery mermaid toast. We’re pretty sure we can blame every “emergency” ice cream run on our Instagram obsession, thanks to all the trendy ice cream rolls pics. So when a new study revealed Instagram might actually be GOOD for our diets, we were totally shocked.
The study comes from the University of Washington, where researchers worked with a focus group of 16 people who regularly record what they eat on Instagram. The focus group members told researchers that their Insta snaps help them track the food they ate better than writing the foods down in a food journal or even an app. Seeing their snacks and meals — healthy and gluttonous — also helped them identify where they had gone off the rails from their diet plan.
“The benefit of [taking food] photos is that it’s more fun to do than taking out a booklet or typing hundreds of words of description in an app,” says lead author and UW human centered design and engineering doctoral student Christina Chung. “Plus, it’s more socially appropriate for people who are trying to track their diets to snap a photo of their plate when they’re out with friends — everyone’s doing it and it doesn’t look weird.” So true.
While we might think of Instagram as a dessert-filled paradise, many of the group members said they found a positive community on Instagram by using popular hashtags like #fooddiary and #foodjournal. By sharing photos, they could connect with people who had similar health goals and tasty pics. These Insta community members helped the focus group stay on track with their diet, thanks to a healthy serving of supportive comments and likes.
The researchers will present their paper at the CHI 2017 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. For anyone trying to get a handle on their health, this research could point to another (way more fun) option to add to their diet planning. For Insta-addicts like us, this research is another reason to keep on swiping. BRB, we’re off to browse the best Instagram food photographers.
What’s your favorite foodie account to follow on Insta? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
(Photos via @BritandCo)