Good news, weight watchers: New research shows that you don’t need to eat food to feel full, you can also just look at it.

“You can to some extent feel satisfied by the mere sight of food,” reports NPRa conclusion that might explain why flipping through food porn (especially the indulgent, fattening kind) is so enjoyable. Slate describes the study in which volunteers enjoyed eating certain foods less after viewing photos of it, because theoretically they had already experienced it.

Ryan Elder and Jeff Larson of Brigham Young University asked 232 volunteers to immerse themselves in images of either sweet or salty snacks. Half looked at 60 pictures of cake, truffles and chocolate; the other half, 60 photos of chips, pretzels and French fries. All the participants then received some salted peanuts to nibble. Those who had viewed the salty food highlight reel reported less enjoyment of the nuts than those who’d seen the sweet treats, presumably because they were jaded from all the virtual sodium they’d just virtually consumed.

But if looking at food is partially equivalent to eating it, why does food advertising (like this drool-inducing Marks & Spencer video) work? NPR suggests that—like an amuse bouche—it could be about volume. Looking at one or two pictures of food might stimulate your hunger, whereas looking at hundreds of photos (as was the case in this study) would sate you enough to lose interest in any more food.

So for those of you who worked through lunch today, here’s a little snack from FWF photographer Liz Barclay to tide you over:

foodporn_franklins_1 foodporn_empellon_6_liz foodporn_marlow-n-sons_6_liz foodporn_meat-hook_16 foodporn_robertas__bestof

[via NPR]

RELATED: A Field Guide to the Worst Types of #Brunch Instagrammers