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How social media influencers are badly affecting your diet?


Experts have identified these red flags about social media influencers you should be wary of

A representational image of a person taking a photograph of food. — Unsplash

You may witness several content creators on social media platforms who would be suggesting diet plans especially on the new year as a resolution as people search for ways to keep themselves healthy.

Some of the ways get much traction from people that they inspire them, however, without knowing their credibility and proper evidence into those ways of dieting. 

This is how people develop eating disorders, according to dietitian Whitney Trotter, who was a program committee manager at a non-profit Project HEAL.

Trotter told Mashable: “We’re very inundated with quick fixes… That’s why people get so lured and sucked into some of these diets.”

Trotter along with another dietitian Rachel Engelhart — clinical director of the Eating Recovery Center — identified such diets to Mashable.

Strategy of seed cycling

It is the consumption of certain seeds and nuts to influence hormone levels positively.

According to Trotter, seed cycling offers more hype than help, underlining that no research supports the idea that alternating foods according to one’s menstrual cycle has the power to change hormone levels or well-being.

Gut health

On social media, it is claimed that if your gut is not happy, then you are not either. However, one cannot say for sure that the use of supplements or “gut health” diets suggested by creators can help with chronic illness. Applying such tips makes people sicker, said Trotter.

This suggestion is often started with an intentional attempt to “reset” the gut— restriction of foods that supposedly irritate the digestive system, according to Trotter. 

She, however, stated that when the gut isn’t being consistently nourished, it can actually make symptoms like brain fog and fatigue even worse.

This is how a person can develop disordered eating, Trotter said.

Packaged and clean foods

Engelhart said that the trend is part of an aesthetic that is about appearing wealthy — eating expensive foods. Moreover, influencers also disregard some portions of food as not harmful.

Engelhart also argued that there’s no evidence to demonstrate that an average portion of processed food is harmful to anyone’s health, adding that the “context is everything”.

A person feeling nauseous would feel more by seeing oatmeal with berries.

If you want to find out that the dieting strategy is helpful, you should keep in mind these things.

Look for credentials

Social media is full of scams and fake experts.

Englehart said: “When it comes to information about food and eating, be wary of anyone who positions themselves as an expert but lacks verifiable credentials, or has some kind of training or certification but frames their discussion of food as good versus bad. Take the same approach toward advice dispensed by someone who speaks in universal truths about certain foods being healthy or unhealthy.”

Fearmongering

Englehart refuted the claims made by the so-called experts of social media about looking good by eating specific foods.

In reality, food is much more complex than an instant chain reaction that ends with success or disaster, says Englehart.

Feeling of guilt

Englehart said that if one felt a feeling of guilt after eating a certain food by seeing social media content, it’s not healthy to continue engaging with it.

“To me that is really concerning,” Englehart said.

Food rules

Englehart suggested that one should avoid content that involves food restrictions or creating rules about eating certain things. Those restrictions lead to the deprivation of essential nutrients in people.

Whenever you feel signs of disordered eating, or have concerns about how social media content is influencing eating habits, seek professional help, she said.



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