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Does Instagramming Your Food Indicate Mental Illness?

Instagramming your food ruins the meal, and could mean mental illness, says an expert.When I go out with my girlfriends for a meal either here at home or at a blogging conference I know I can count on everyone I’m with whipping out their phones and taking pictures of their meal, long before they take their first bite. I’ll confess to doing this occasionally myself when a meal is particularly beautiful.

Food photography is wildly popular on social media, with a social media network dedicated solely to rating, posting, and sharing restaurant meals. While it might be annoying, it’s pretty harmless, right?

Maybe not. Restaurants, in fact, have become so annoyed at the practice many high-end places have instituted a “no photography” rule. But even worse news comes from a psychiatrist.

Dr. Valerie Taylor, chief of psychiatry at Women’s College Hospital at the University of Toronto, has said it is, indeed, harmful. In a presentation at the Canadian Obesity Summit, Dr. Taylor said the act of photographing your meals contributes to obesity and eating disorders because it highlights an obsession with food. In a statement to the Huffington Post, she stated, “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, et cetera — is background.”

Look. I absolutely agree that social media can exacerbate and highlight the human tendency toward narcissism, and I also agree that some people have an unhealthy relationship with food (hey, myself included). However, I do not think the majority of folks who take a moment to photograph and share a beautiful meal are doing anything more than posting photos of their lunch. Or dinner. It’s just the nature of social media; instead of telling our friends about a great meal, we share it.

What do you think? If you love instagramming your food, do you think this is indicative of a larger problem?

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