The list of online social media outlets is extensive with Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok just to name a few. Topics streaming across these platforms encompass a wide breadth that includes food and nutrition. From more traditional food product advertising to unsolicited novice nutrition advice from nutrition “influencers,” the information trends toward having the ability to influence food making decisions. Studies report that social media can and does influence food choices with one in ten individuals noting social media effecting their buying behaviors. While these platforms can be seen as a more accessible way to share beneficial information, there are some downsides. The extensive amount of information from numerous resources makes it more difficult for consumers to sort through what is useful to them. Haphazard nutrition advice may be more detrimental in the long run. Posts highlighting “what I eat in a day,” for instance, encourage followers to follow a plan built for someone else when nutrition is highly individualized. This example post also encourages online comparison that can reduce self-esteem.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.