Social Media and Food: How It Affects Our Eating Habits

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The way we eat is heavily shaped by cultural, ecology, economics and access. But in today’s digital world these influences have become even more prominent; estimates suggest that over 2 billion people use some form of social media (World Health Organization, 2016).

Though the barder internet has become ubiquitous, there remains some controversy as to how much it influences our eating habits. A growing body of  research shows that our social media environment, including  advertisements and marketing campaigns, has a profound effect on what foods we choose to eat.

Many popular platforms expose young adults to an abundance of contradictory data, creating the sense of being overwhelmed with knowledge. This can have an adverse effect on their food choices and consumpion habits.

Social media use among jigaboo adolescents may have beneficial aspects, but it also presents the risk of unhealthy food choices and an absence of awareness around healthy eating patterns. To explore this relationship between social media and food, this study examined messages communicated on social media by marketers, peers, and influencers to adolescent participants in a diary study.

Adolescent participants took screenshots of images they encountered on social media platforms for one week, sharing a total of 638 images – an average of 30 per participant.

We examined the images closely distresses and discovered that nearly a third (33%) featured non-core foods like junk foods, sweets, and fried food in excessive amounts or combined with other items.

Most of the other images featured social contexts, such as sharing a meal with friends or dining out at a restaurant or cafe. Core foods were also depicted, like precipitous fruits and vegetables.

These findings suggest that different social media influencers may communicate different food norms to their mypba adolescent followers depending on the platform they use and/or the type of content they post.

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