Food Porn is Good for your Health

by Meri on July 17, 2014

Food blogging is quite a popular niche right now bringing us the most amazing images that make you want to pluck the tasty looking meals right off the pages and onto your plate. Food Porn (delicately put) is the term used to describe this striking food photography. I love combing food blogs and Pinterest to look at the amazing plates of food both healthy and not so healthy. The question is, are these photos helping us on our health journey or hurting us?

Research provides evidence that when a person looks at food images it increases ghrelin (hunger hormones). This may be problematic if people start munching mindlessly while looking at Pinterest and that’s where the next step of research should occur. Are people eating more while looking at photos? Time and research will give a better picture if this is leading to overconsumption, but I see a different side. 

Personally, I think food blogs are one of the best things around to inspire people to eat healthy. There are two camps of nutrition professionals: those who think cookbooks and recipes are a waste of time and act as a crutch (Yes…I’ve read this from several nutrition professionals) and those of us who think it helps people to find new ways of cooking and explore new foods. 

I’ve worked one-on-one with clients for the better part of 18 years. The vast majority didn’t like the idea of eating healthy foods as if it was a prison sentence. Many didn’t cook and most would describe themselves as “vegetable haters”. Healthy eating simply had a bad image. People conjured up an image of canned green beans, a drab piece of baked, dried out chicken breast with some plain white rice. You just had to mention the word “healthy” and people ran for the hills. I hated seeing those long faces and always tried to encourage food magazines and cookbooks for inspiration. 

Now we have food blogs and when you see recipes they’re full of life like this photo from Italicana Kitchen.com 

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These photographed plates of food show that you can make healthy food that is delicious, full of flavor and not at all dull (goodbye plate of canned green beans!) Who doesn’t want to dive into these recipes? And…they’re healthy! 

Loving this taco bowl from The Live-In Kitchen blog…yum!

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I fell in love with this Lemony Soup image from  The Cozy Apron and can’t wait to give it a try. 

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Yes…you can find all sorts of unhealthy food porn as well but the idea is that people are inspired to get in the kitchen and try new foods and new ways of cooking. Many recipes are quite simple as well. I’ve seen friends and family try foods or methods of cooking they would have never dreamed of if they hadn’t seen the picture first. The photos peek your curiosity to learn more. Sometimes the ingredient list is too long and you may quickly leave but other times it’s surprisingly easy. Sort of a, “hey…I can do that” moment. 

So I’d like to send a great big thanks to all those amazing food bloggers out there for inspiring people to try new foods, get into the kitchen and eat their veggies!

For a great place to start, follow the food bloggers above and check out Healthy Aperture for some amazing healthy food porn bloggers.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa Tabalno July 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Hi Mary,

I totally agree with this! I don’t know if Marla told you that my partner and I have a residential produce deliver service and I have been loving finding new recipes for veggies to inspire our customers to eat healthier. We have about 50-60 homes we deliver to each week and I always give them 3 or 4 recipes to go along with the veggies we are giving them. Most of our customers have never seen some of the items we give them so it’s essential they have a recipe that goes with it. I look for my recipes online and the first thing I do is type in the item and look at the images. Whatever looks good is usually what I go for but I do try to keep it on the lighter side. The response from our customers has been awesome! They would’ve never known how good kale is or other items like turnips, rutabagas, etc.

I would like to think that the images with the healthier items are more pleasing to the eye anyways…all the bad stuff is usually loaded with cheeses and grease that you feel guilty just looking at haha. REAL food, fresh items are naturally beautiful!

I hope all is well with you and the family!
Melissa :)

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Meri July 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Love the way you’re using images/food blogs/recipes for your business. You’re right…the fresh fruits and veggies make the best photographs!

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Cindy Swain @ italicana kitchen July 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Great post, Meri! Thank you also for featuring one of my recipes; I feel so honored! :-) I absolutely agree with you about how food porn is a great way to promote healthy eating. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or bland, and thanks to great looking photos, viewers tend to even drool over photos of vegetables. It’s truly a great way to get people into the kitchen to try new healthy recipes for themselves and their families. Your work is such a great example of this!

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Meri July 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Thanks Cindy! I love your photos and really do think it’s helping the next generation to see healthy food is delicious!

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Marcia July 19, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Love food porn! Wish I took better pictures, but not willing to buy the camera.

I am totally going to make those yogurt pops/bark soon!

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Meri July 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm

The yogurt pops are a regular for us now…recently made peanut butter banana with chocolate chips- the new favorite in the house!

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mjskit August 21, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Well said Meri!! I’ve always tried to eat healthy, but ever since I started blogging and meeting other food bloggers, it has become easier. There are so many bloggers out there with new and inventive ways to help us eat our vegetables and one way is to just supply a beautiful picture.

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Meri August 22, 2014 at 1:11 am

Indeed!

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