What our friends eat on social media appears to have a significant influence on what we consume on a daily basis. If you see your friends eating fruit and vegetables online every day, you are more likely to go for an extra portion of green. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just work that way with healthy eating. Even if your friends share fast food , chocolate or sweets on social media, you will feel more like it and you will therefore rather opt for a fatty bite .
So unconsciously, social media has much more influence on our eating habits than we think, according to English research.
Can people be influenced by social media and food
Are you on a diet? Then quickly unfollow all your friends who regularly post photos of fast food , and find accounts of people who eat more vegetables . Social media has more effect on our eating habits than we think, and we can be influenced enormously. If we believe that if our friends eat a lot of fruit or vegetables, we think we should. But when we see the people we follow on social media consuming a lot of snacks and soft drinks, we are more likely to give ourselves permission to also reach for the fries and cola.
photos and videos
Researchers asked students to describe their own eating habits, as well as those of people they are friends with on social media. Subsequently, the behavior of the participants was monitored. For every plate of healthy food their friends post online, they take about one fifth of a serving of greens. So in five photos with fruit and vegetables, they quickly take a whole extra portion of a healthy meal . If the study participants see three servings of unhealthy food from peers, they are more likely to indulge themselves a serving of junk food . Facebook, Instagram and TikTok in particular have a lot of influence on what we eat, because they are very visual and mainly revolve around photos and videos.
Disturbed relationship with food
The results serve as evidence that social media friends influence people’s eating habits. In addition, they suggest that, according to the researchers, it is possible to use social media to encourage healthy eating. This can encourage people to eat more of these foods. However, these kinds of health campaigns will have to walk a fine line, because labeling certain foods as ‘healthy‘ or ‘unhealthy‘ can also mean that they are ‘good‘ or ‘bad‘. This places a moral value on food and can inadvertently make people feel guilty when they don’t just eat healthy food. Caution is advised when posting on social media, as some studies show a link between teen social media use and disrupted eating behavior.
What’s the point of such an investigation? The results, according to the researchers, can be used, among other things, for fruit and vegetable promotion campaigns. But we can also apply it ourselves in a different way. If we want to make healthier choices, it could help track more people who also eat healthy food like TikTok, but before that, you’ve got to have a lot of followers in the social media post. You can use the ‘TikTok Followers’ to increase your viewers.