PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Just a picture of a decadent dessert or an enticing entrée can make our mouths water.

Longtime food photographer Jim Sharer says food and photography are natural complements.

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“It offers texture,” he says. “It’s very sensual. And for all those reasons, I think food and photography make a very powerful combination.”

In the age where most of us carry smartphones around wherever we go, snapping food shots isn’t just for the professionals anymore.

And you don’t need to go any further than Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see the evidence.

Now a study at Brigham Young University says those photos help us lose weight.

It’s called the Instagram diet.

Researchers found that just looking at pictures of foods you enjoy over and over again can actually curb hunger.

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In the study, volunteers were shown 60 pictures of salty foods like fries and chips. They were less likely to eat the foods than those who weren’t shown photos at all.

It’s something the researchers call “sensory boredom.” In other words, you become tired of the taste of that food before you even eat it.

The results are a tough sell for some people.

“I want to eat it if I look at it,” one woman said. “When I’m sitting at night and they start doing those pretzel buns with the big hamburgers – I’m like OK, where’s my half a banana? … No, I don’t think that would help anything at all. If anything it makes your cravings worse.”

But some nutritionists think those researchers might be onto something.

“It seems from the study, really interesting, people are looking at pictures and they’re really looking at the food and almost mentally tasting the food,” says nutritionalist Joan Salge Blake. “It could have that impact like they’ve consumed it already and they’d decrease the excitement of it when they go eat it.”

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Kristine Sorensen