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Food on Social Media

Use caution when viewing food-related social media posts.

Woman looking at food on social media

We should not count on celebrity Instagram feeds to help get Americans to eat more salads. A study in JAMA Network Open that analyzed food on social media posts by celebrities found more than 87% of the social media accounts highlighted eating or drinking nutritionally suspect foods and beverages. (The investigators had tracked all food- and drink-related posts made by 181 athletes, actors, TV personalities and musicians on Instagram between May 2019 and March 2020.)

Why the drive to flaunt burgers instead of broccoli? Profit isn’t always the reason why; 95% of photos that contained foods and beverages on celebrities’ Instagram profiles were not sponsored.

The investigation also found posts of more healthful foods were less likely to get “likes” or comments.

See also: For Better or Worse, Social Media Friends Influence Food Choices

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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