Social media: Does who you follow influence what you eat?

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The people you follow on social media could be influencing your food choices.

New research that’s been published in the journal, ‘Appetite,’ suggests that you might be copying the eating habits you see online.

The study surveyed more than 300 college students on eating habits of their Facebook friends and compared it to those student’s own diets.

Participants in the study who perceived their friends as healthy eaters ate more servings of fruits and vegetables themselves. Those who said their peers ate more junk food tended to eat more junk food, too.

A local dietitian said to be aware of the pros and cons of social media and eating habits.

“There’s so many different people and different types of things that can be promoted, so just deciphering what’s reliable and who to trust can be tricky,” Kyrstie Lindhorst, a clinical dietitian at Cotton O’Neil Heart Center said.

Although, she said there are many positives about following trends online.

“It allows people to try new things, try different recipes, expand their horizons a little bit, and it helps you interact, stay engaged with other people who have similar goals,” Lindhorst said.

While there are benefits, Lindhorst said it’s important to always consult with your doctor or a dietitian before you start a new drastic diet or try a new product.

“That’s what we’re here for, that’s what we went to school for is to help educate you and get you to your goals.”

The researchers of the ‘Appetite’ study said this information could utilize social media to influence others to live a healthier lifestyle.

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