Social media has many different impacts on our lives. It affects our emotions and can make us feel insecure or motivate us, depending on how we use it. But unexpectedly, it also affects our diet.
Scientists have found that you are more likely to eat junk food if you believe your friends do the same.
The research, conducted by Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences, discovered that participants were more likely to eat an extra portion of fruit or vegetables if they believed their friends were eating fruit or vegetables. More precisely, if social media users got the impression that their friends ate five portions of fruit, they would eat a portion of fruit themselves.
On the contrary, people would eat a portion of an unhealthy snack or junk food for every three portions they believed their friends were having. This research implies that we eat a third of a portion of junk food for every portion our online friends have.
This further confirms that it is imperative to keep in mind what we let into our lives. Social media is no exception to this, as habits of the people you follow and look up to can quickly become your own. However, not everything is bad as the research also confirms that you can bring yourself to eat healthier by following and engaging with people who do the same themselves. You can use this to your advantage and motivate yourself by following people whose diets you admire.
In a previous study, scientists asked university students to estimate how many vegetables, fruit, and sugary drinks their Facebook friends consumed. Scientists concluded that students who believed that their friends ate junk food ate it more themselves. Since we all look for approval in others, it’s no wonder we also eat what is expected of us.
Scientists haven’t determined whether the impact of social media on our dietary habits has any long-term effects on our weight, but they plan on making that connection in the future.
Dietary patterns of the people we follow on social media impact us more than we realize. We must use this to our advantage and follow accounts that will motivate us to have healthier eating habits.