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The Problem With Food Porn Essay

1431 words - 6 pages


According to psychologist Susan Albers, “Like the sexual kind, food porn allows us to lust after taboo things” Food porn is something proliferated in the modern society with the help of social media and a term casually thrown in day-to-day conversations, but where did it really come from?
In Anne E. Mcbride’s article in Gastronomica, a journal on food and culture, she compiled the different explanations and definition of food porn. There was a forum held to discuss the term food porn. Food porn means: “a) it is porn when you don’t do it but watch other people do it; (b) there is something unattainable about the food pictured in magazines or cooked on tv shows; (c) there is no pedagogical value to it; (d) it hides the hard work and dirty dishes behind cooking; (e) there is something indecent about playing with food when there is so much hunger in the world” (McBride, 38-46).
For Chris Cosentino, a chef, food porn is the ability of food to create a positive and euphoric reaction, as well as making others want the food that you have or you’re eating. It’s more than being ordinary. It is said that food porn is not just what we see in magazines or on television but also the experience of dining. Food porn has a way of captivating people (McBride, 38-46).
According to Mc Bride’s research, the idea of food porn was already present during the ancient Roman days. During that time, huge feasts were held with vomitori, to make you vomit the food that you already had eaten so you could get and eat more food. Oysters and bee pollen were known as great old examples of this. This practice shows opulence and decadence during this time.
The term food porn appeared first in 1979, Michael Jacobson labeled healthy foods as the “right stuff” while unhealthy food as “food porn” in the Center for Science in the Public Interest’ newsletter, Nutrition Action Health letter. Jacobson also added that he “coined the term to connote a food that was so sensationally out of bounds of what a food should be that it deserved to be considered pornographic.” (McBride, 38-46)

The Science Behind Food Porn

There are numerous researches conducted exploring how food porn or how obsessively looking at pictures of delicious food makes you want to eat more. It may seem not harmful but according to Laura Martin, a neuroscientist who studies how we respond to food, “photos on delicious food provoke
a real emotional and physical hunger response that can
be tough to control”

This response and effect of food porn has a scientific reason. According to Women’s Health Magazine:

“Food porn relies on a phenomenon called supernormal stimuli, which exaggerates qualities we’re already hardwired to love,” says Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D., an evolutionary psychologist at Harvard Medical School’s Behavioral Medicine Program and author of Waistland: The Revolutionary Science Behind Our Weight and Fitness Crisis. Usually, that translates...

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