Do we assume pretty food is more healthful?

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ACCORDING to a recent study, whether it’s avocado toast or cupcakes, we expect attractive food to be better for us.
According to the study, people have exposure to an estimated 4,013 food and 2,844 restaurant advertisements each year. These ads feature images of perfect-looking foods, carefully styled for the camera.
Advertisements use images to trigger the part of the brain that perceives taste, which activates our brain’s reward center to give us a little mental “taste” of a pleasurable dining experience.
This may also work against the food’s desirability, according to Hagen. These feelings may unconsciously prompt us to think of such foods as tasting too good to be good for us. Nonetheless, marketers generally view such advertising as effective.
If it is not the way that pretty food activates the brain’s reward center, the study asks, “May the alluringly good-looking pizza actually seem healthier to you, by virtue of its aesthetics?”
People, foods, and objects strike us as classically pretty when they possess certain attributes, such as symmetry and self-similar patterns, that we consider beautiful in nature.
SLEEP LOSS MAY DISRUPT THE BRAIN’S ABILITY TO ‘UNLEARN’ FEAR
A study reveals how getting less sleep than normal may impair the brain’s capacity to regulate fear. The finding helps explain why frequent sleep disturbances make people more prone to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining mental health. For example, people with insomnia are approximately three times as likely to develop an anxiety disorder compared with those who sleep normally, according to asystematic review of research published in 2019.
Other studies find that people who experience frequent sleep disturbances — a common issue for health workers and military personnel — have a higher risk of PTSD. Not getting enough rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the sleep stage when most dreaming occurs, seems to be a particularly important factor in this increased risk. Sleep in general, and REM sleep in particular, are known to play a vital role in “fear extinction.” This is the process of learning where the stimuli previously associated with unpleasant sensations or experiences now become harmless.
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