Wake Up Call

Is There Such a Thing as a Foodstagram Eating Disorder? Researcher Says Yes

If you don't think that taking and sharing photos of food is a big deal, open your eyes. It's become a big enough issue that some restaurants have started to impose an unofficial ban on the practice, saying tabletop photogs are turning the dining floor into a circus.

See also: - Caution: Food Porn May Be Hazardous to Your Health - Ten Instagram-ers for the Phoenix Food Lover to Follow

But besides being annoying (at least, at times) the growing obsession with food, one researcher says, could be indicative of larger health problems. That's right, your foodstagram habit might mean you have real issues.

Dr. Valerie Taylor, chief of psychiatry at Women's College Hospital at the University of Toronto, spoke recently at the Canadian Obesity Summit in Vancouver. Her presentation, called "Food Fetish: Society's Complicated Relationship with Food," argued that people who post their meals on social media might be doing so not because it's cool, but because food holds an overly significant role in their lives.

"The concern becomes when all they do is send pictures of food," Taylor told the Huffington Post. "We take pictures of things that are important to us, and for some people, the food itself becomes central and the rest -- the venue, the company, etc. -- is background."

Taylor said taking photos of the food -- instead of, say, the people -- at dinner might mean you have a dysfunctional relationship to food, that it's too important to you. And that might cause people with a predisposition for weight problems to develop weight disorders.

In other words, being obsessed with food photos might also mean you're obsessed with food, which might mean you're going to get fat. Not exactly rocket science but nevertheless an interesting takeaway from the fact that websites and Tumblrs dedicated solely to food porn even exist.

Of course, this isn't the first indication we've had that maybe food porn might not be so good for you. Last year, researchers from the University of Southern California also said food porn makes you crave unhealthy foods. But Taylor's research seems to say it's more than just causing a (pretty predictable) physical reaction; it's a symptom of a mental problem. At least a mental problem in the sense that being more concerned with how your food looks than who you're enjoying it with isn't necessarily a good thing.

What do you think? Is foodstagramming feeding an unhealthy societal obsession with food?

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria