According to Men’s Health, a new study out of the University of Washington indicates that photographing one’s food and posting it to Instagram can help people make healthier eating choices.
The researchers organized a small study of just 16 people and had them document their meals and food preparation using the hashtags #fooddiary and #foodjournal. The researchers found that the positive reinforcement from the other Instagram users following those hashtags helped the photographers stick to their healthy eating plans. This only really works for people trying to maintain healthy diets, though. Posting Unicorn Frappuccinos does not help a person lose weight.
One of the most interesting aspects of the study is that Instagramming the food helped people who were already at their goal weights stay there. Most diets and weight-loss plans fail, in part because once one gets to a goal weight, the lack of new payoffs makes it pretty boring to keep up the maintenance necessary to stay there.
“Maintenance becomes pretty boring for a lot of people because your quest to hit a goal has worn off,” study author Sean Munson, Ph.D., said.
Continuing to post photos helped people feel accountable and like they were still making active progress.