Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pictures of food create feelings of hunger

Date:
January 19, 2012
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Researchers have demonstrated something scientifically for the first time that laypeople have always known: the mere sight of delicious food stimulates the appetite. A study on healthy young men has documented that the amount of the neurosecretory protein hormone ghrelin in the blood increases as a result of visual stimulation through images of food. As a main regulator, ghrelin controls both eating behavior and the physical processes involved in food metabolism.

Just seeing it creates an appetite: Such images generate the feeling of hunger due to the hormone ghrelin, which is released in greater amounts through visual stimuli.
Credit: © Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

Max Planck researchers have demonstrated something scientifically for the first time that laypeople have always known: the mere sight of delicious food stimulates the appetite. A study on healthy young men has documented that the amount of the neurosecretory protein hormone ghrelin in the blood increases as a result of visual stimulation through images of food. As a main regulator, ghrelin controls both eating behaviour and the physical processes involved in food metabolism.

Related Articles


These results show that, in addition to the physiological mechanisms for maintaining the body's energy status, environmental factors also have a specific influence on food consumption. Thus, the pervasive presence of appetising food in the media could contribute to weight increase in Western populations.

Warning: "Avoid looking at pictures of appetising food as it will make you hungry!" Dieticians could be making recommendations along these lines in the future. It has long been known that, in addition to the physiological regulatory circuits for the maintenance of a sufficient energy status for the body, external stimuli like smell or the sight of food also influence our feelings of hunger and our resulting eating behaviour. The danger that the exposure to such images will result in the consumption of food that is not needed to maintain the body's energy status is particularly high in our advertising-dominated society.

In a study involving healthy male subjects, Axel Steiger and his research group at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry investigated the molecular processes for the control of food consumption. They examined the specific physiological reaction of the test subjects to images showing either delicious food or non-edible objects. The concentrations of different hormones in the blood such as grehlin, leptin and insulin, which play a role in the regulation of food consumption, were measured. The researchers actually observed that the concentration of grehlin in the blood increases specifically in response to visual stimulation with food images.

"The findings of our study demonstrate, for the first time, that the release of ghrelin into the blood for the regulation of food consumption is also controlled by external factors. Our brain thereby processes these visual stimuli, and the physical processes that control our perception of appetite are triggered involuntarily. This mechanism could prompt us to eat a piece of cake just two hours after breakfast," says Petra Schόssler, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute. She thus recommends that individuals with weight problems should preferably avoid looking at images of appetising food.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Petra Schόssler, Michael Kluge, Alexander Yassouridis, Martin Dresler, Manfred Uhr, Axel Steiger. Ghrelin Levels Increase After Pictures Showing Food. Obesity, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/oby.2011.385

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Pictures of food create feelings of hunger." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119101713.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2012, January 19). Pictures of food create feelings of hunger. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119101713.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Pictures of food create feelings of hunger." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119101713.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) — Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) — Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) — As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, the media says parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are part of the cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins