Just looking at images of food can change our taste experience, according to research published Mar. 14 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
The authors of the study, led by Johannes le Coutre of the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland, found that participants reported tastes to be more pleasant when preceded by images of high-calorie foods, such as pizza or pastry, as compared to low-calorie foods like watermelon or green beans.
The researchers conducted neuroimaging studies that identified previously unknown brain mechanisms of visual-gustatory sensory interactions involved with food enjoyment. Taken together, the study highlights the importance of visual food appeal as one determinant for nutritional reward.
Citation: Ohla K, Toepel U, le Coutre J, Hudry J (2012) Visual-Gustatory Interaction: Orbitofrontal and Insular Cortices Mediate the Effect of High-Calorie Visual Food Cues on Taste Pleasantness. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32434. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032434
Financial Disclosure: The present research was funded by the Nestle´ Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland, which, through the employment of KO, JlC and JH, was involved in conceiving, designing and performing the experiments, and analyzing the data. The management of Nestle´ Research approved the submission and publication of this manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have read the journal's policy and have no conflicts. KO was and JlC and JH are employees of Nestec Ltd. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLoS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.
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