By Mike Pomranz
Updated February 24, 2016
Credit: © iStockphoto

Sometimes you’re at a restaurant and a waiter brings a dish that looks so delicious you just have to post it to Instagram. But according to a new study, the reverse might be true as well: Taking that photo may help make the dish you’re about to eat that much more delicious. Isn’t food porn wonderful?

Researchers at St. Joseph’s University and the University of San Diego conducted three studies looking into how consumer-generated images of food affected people’s satisfaction when eating it. What they found was that snapping a pic of your grub before downing it led to more positive reviews after the fact. Interestingly, however, the effect only worked with “indulgent” dishes. Turns out posting a pic of a sad turnip or a lame pile of white rice isn’t going to make it more delicious no matter how many likes it gets (though I wouldn’t expect that many likes either).

Sean Coary, Ph.D., assistant professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, explained what they believe is behind the photographic phenomenon. “When we take a photo of something before eating, we create a momentary but intentional delay in consumption, allowing all of the senses to be engaged and building the anticipation of enjoyment,” he said.

It’s almost like the modern equivalent of saying grace. That photo is like a little prayer. And Instagram is your new God.