That photo of a juicy burger you posted on Instagram has a deeper meaning than social media validation.

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Your Instagram Food Snaps Reveal Income Inequality and More, Science Says

Staff Writer
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers prove that food Instagram pictures reveal if you live in a food desert

Who among us hasn’t snapped a photo of our dinner, slapped on a few hashtags, and waited for the Instagram likes to appear? Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology believe there’s more to our Instagram habits than meets the grumbling stomach.

Our social media habits are geographically consistent with the existence of food deserts, the scientists say. In other words, you’re more likely to post unhealthy junk food if you live in an area without access to fresh food, than your urban farmers market-pushing social media counterparts. In addition, wealthier people are more likely to digitally brag about healthy food, while poorer people living in food deserts were more likely to post photos of pork, mayonnaise, and cookies.

“The USDA identifies food deserts based on the availability of fresh food,” computer scientist Munmun De Choudhury said in a statement. “Instagram literally gives us a picture of what people are actually eating in these communities, allowing us to study them in a new way.”

The study finds that 48 percent of Instagram posts nationwide show fruits and vegetables, while that number plummets to 33 percent in food deserts. 

It may be worth noting that, in the past, scientists have claimed that food deserts could be a myth.

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