The Effects Social Media Can Have On Our Eating Habits: Two Sides of The Same Coin

Feb 4, 2020

Health & Lifestyle | Daniela Pisciottano

It is no secret that social media can affect our prospective of reality and, in some instances, the way we behave – from the clothes we buy to the food we eat.

When it comes to the latter, in particular, the situation splits in half, with people on both sides advocating pro and against the representation of food online.

As shown in an article published by Now To Love, the risk of young adults developing eating disorders is directly related to the growth of social media. In other words, next time you are navigating Instagram, pay attention to any post you see that makes you think “maybe I should do that/eat that/be like that/look like that” and you’ll soon understand the gravity of the problem.

Finding the balance between picking up unhealthy eating habits online and obsessing over the food we eat is essential for a safe use of social media. So, how does social media really influence our eating habits?

The Bad

From extreme beauty standards – check out our article on the campaign #normalisenormalbodies – to influencers advertising unhealthy products solely for financial purpose, social media is full of dangers and it is essential to always question things twice before you buy into them.

We all remember the scandal that involved celebs endorsing detox teas - exposing young adults to such aggressive advertisement and marketing strategies can make it hard for them to find the right balance for a truly healthy lifestyle. A distorted body image is often the direct result of being exposed to photos of unrealistic beauty standards but the core of the problem is that unqualified people have been given a tool (social media) to advertise whatever is convenient for them, carelessly overlooking the fact that a young person might be emulating their every move, even if this means putting their health at serious risk.

The results: These misleading posts might inspire people to under-eat or use fast-slimming products.

Always question what you see; is this celebrity (or influencer) solely relying on these miraculous drinks to get fit or are they being followed by a professional dietician who has created an eating plan suitable for their metabolism and lifestyle specifically?

The Okay

Promoting a healthy lifestyle can’t be all bad and, while celebrities and influencers should not be trusted to give out training nor dietary advice, being inspired by their hard work and dedication can only be good.

Things would be so much better if, instead of giving out unprofessional advice on what training regime they believe is best, influential people would just exhort their fans to follow an active lifestyle, keeping their diet under control.

Finding the middle ground between promoting slimming products and inspiring people to take better care of themselves is the key to solving this problem.

The results: If celebrities and influencers start concerning about the message they send to young adults, people will turn to professional advice if they feel like their health would benefit from. it.

The Good

If on one hand social media can badly influence some aspects of our life – self-esteem and body-positivity being the biggest issues – on the other hand, following someone who is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle can be a true game changer.

Seeing photos of a beautiful bowl of yogurt with fresh fruits or a comforting dish like a plate of pasta and veg can inspire us to take up a healthier lifestyle ourselves.

Oprah’s garden has inspired many (actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish being one of them) to start growing their own “wonky” fruit and veg in favour of a more sustainable, healthy diet.

The results: Social media is a great resource for many reasons but we should be careful when using it. Take a step back and look at social media for what it is – a small window of time in someone’s life during which they have decided to show you something that makes them feel happy, proud or achieved.

Admire them and be inspired but don’t try to recreate what you see – we are all different so it’s only right we find a balanced lifestyle to live as happily and healthily as possible.