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Having a Love Affair With Food Porn?
It's called food porn. You can blame your love of bread, salt, meat and potatoes on your ancestors. Our desire for "indulgent meals" (read: delicious but not necessarily healthy) goes back well over 500 years. And this has been proven in a most unusual way: Renaissance art.

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Brian Wansink, Ph.D., the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of "Slim by Design," analyzed 16th century European paintings of food and found that many of these celebrated works of art are loaded with the foods modern dieticians warn us against eating--salt, sausages, bread and more bread.

The study began with 750 paintings of food painted over the past 500 years and then focused on 140 paintings of family meals. Of the 36 Renaissance period paintings, 86 percent depicted bread and 61 percent depicted meat while only 22 percent showed vegetables.

Interestingly, the most commonly painted foods were not the most readily available foods of the time. For example, the most commonly painted vegetable was an artichoke, the most commonly painted fruit was a lemon, and the most commonly painted meat was shellfish, usually lobster. Wansink explained that these paintings often featured food that was indulgent, aspirational or aesthetically pleasing.

The takeaway: Our love affair with decadent food is nothing new.

The study findings were published in Sage Open.

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