Concerning New Statistics Highlight Inaccurate Nutrition Trends on TikTok

Summation

  • The MyFitnessPal survey found that 87% of Millennials and Gen Z TikTok users have turned to the platform for nutrition and health advice, while 57% report that they are influenced by or frequently adopt nutrition trends they’ve found on the platform.
  • From drinking a glass of chia seed water to trying the baby food diet, or even eating dog food to increase protein intake, there are some questionable viral nutrition and weight loss trends on social media platforms like TikTok ––and Millennials and Gen Z are listening.
  • To further understand the impact of platforms like TikTok on nutrition trends, MyFitnessPal partnered with Dublin City University on a research and experimental study that examined diet and nutrition content on TikTok.

From drinking a glass of chia seed water to trying the baby food diet, or even eating dog food to increase protein intake, there are some questionable viral nutrition and weight loss trends on social media platforms like TikTok ––and Millennials and Gen Z are listening. Today, MyFitnessPal released findings from a survey they conducted of 2,000 Millennials and Gen Z across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, uncovering concerning statistics about the effect of viral trends popularized on TikTok.

MyFitnessPal

The MyFitnessPal survey found that 87% of Millennials and Gen Z TikTok users have turned to the platform for nutrition and health advice, while 57% report that they are influenced by or frequently adopt nutrition trends they’ve found on the platform. In fact, of those who are influenced by nutrition and health trends on TikTok, 67% report that they adopt at least one of these trends a few times a week.

Of those who have tried a fad diet they found on TikTok, the top reported diets were detoxing, foods that burn stomach fat, and liquid cleanses. Gen Z is more likely to experiment with drinking chlorophyll water, while Millennials are more likely to try a detox, the cabbage soup diet, and the Carnivore diet––none of which are dependably backed by science. Despite the potential health risks associated with some popular TikTok trends, 30% tried them anyway, while an astonishing 31% say they have experienced an adverse effect from these “fad diet” trends.

“The survey findings highlight the fact that people need to better understand what’s in the food they’re eating, dig more into the science behind social trends, and find trusted sources to guide them,” says Katie Keil, MyFitnessPal Chief Marketing Officer. “There are a lot of great licensed registered dietitians out there, along with medical professionals and credible brands, that are sharing evidence-based content on social media. We encourage people to find and follow those trusted sources.”

To further understand the impact of platforms like TikTok on nutrition trends, MyFitnessPal partnered with Dublin City University on a research and experimental study that examined diet and nutrition content on TikTok. The study analyzed over 67,000 videos using Artificial Intelligence to compare them against public health and nutrition guidelines. The preliminary findings suggest that only 2.1% of the analyzed nutrition content proved to be accurate when compared to these guidelines. The remaining content was either inaccurate, partially accurate, or classified as uncertain due to a lack of support by scientific evidence.

“People are relying on certain social media signals – such as follower count or virality of a video – to guide food choices. But those may not be good indicators of high quality nutritional health content,” continues Keil.

“With more people turning to social media for health and wellness advice, it’s critical for us as a community to enhance our digital health literacy,” says Theo Lynn PhD, Dublin City University Business School Professor of Digital Business. “This involves being aware of the experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness of the source. It’s important to understand that these viral TikTok trends often lack the rigor of controlled experiments and evidence-based scientific consensus, and, therefore, should not be trusted as a reliable source of information.”

While the survey findings and supplemental research study demonstrated concerning trends, one positive finding is that Gen Z does trust content shared by qualified Registered Dietitians more than nutrition information shared by unqualified influencers. This underscores the importance of licensed professionals helping to champion scientific truth across social media.

To help close the knowledge gap, MyFitnessPal and Dublin City University developed a resource that can serve as a checklist and tool to help individuals spot nutrition inaccuracies on social media and increase digital health literacy.

Medical Device News Magazinehttps://infomeddnews.com
Medical Device News Magazine provides breaking medical device / biotechnology news. Our subscribers include medical specialists, device industry executives, investors, and other allied health professionals, as well as patients who are interested in researching various medical devices. We hope you find value in our easy-to-read publication and its overall objectives! Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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