How social media could be wrecking your diet

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
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All those gorgeous pictures of trendy food and drool-worthy recipes on social media may be contributing to overeating, experts say.

Social media definitely drives all kinds of food trends.

Just think about all those "drool worthy" photos on Instagram or recipe videos on Facebook. It's hard to resist trying them out.

But some experts say these foodie fads are negatively impacting diets. They also point out sometimes claims are made about the healthful properties about a new food trend - with little to back it up.

Gemarla Babilonia-Gaskin loves seeing crazy new food trends that pop up on her social media feed.

From the unicorn frappuccino to the ramen burger, she's up for trying all - even the grilled cheese donut!

She said, "It was once in a lifetime and it was amazing!"

She's not alone in wanting to try all kinds of delicious treats.

Instagram, Facebook, Pintrest and YouTube all post inspiring edible concoctions - and ways to re-create them.

But registered dietitian Libby Parker says those food influencers might be having a negative effect on your weight.

"Boozy milkshakes of all the different toppings...some of them have slices of cake on top of them and things like that...giant stacked burgers with all different types of toppings. Any of the rainbow foods...the rainbow trend is still really big, Parker said.

In fact, Parker says it's almost like a contest.

"Some of these are not the most nutritious choices, but they take a great photo," Parker said. "They look really epic. I think people are trying to outdo each other."

While some of the food trends you see in your feeds are clearly not claiming to be healthy, others appear to claim healthful benefits. Parker says be careful before buying into any claims: and check the source. When in doubt, go with guidance from a certified nutrition specialist or a registered dietitian, for expertise on what really is good for you.

Parker explained,"Any time that we're going to extremes,that can be really unhealthy. So we're looking at accounts that are cutting out entire food groups. That's not showing really balanced, healthy eating that's going to give us all of our nutrients."

She encourages following influencers and hashtags that give meal-prep tips, so you can plan ahead. And check out accounts that share options pairing good-for-you- foods you never thought about.

Ultimately, it's about common sense. "You can look at other people for ideas and recipe inspiration. There's no harm in that. But in terms of creating really balanced, healthy meals and lifestyles, you want to make sure that there's a balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins."

Gemarla says she finds great recipe ideas online that fit into her keto diet, which lets her splurge once in a while if a special treat pops up that she just can't resist trying.

"It's a trend," she explains. "You do it once and then enjoy it and then - it's over!"

One more tip: Experts say you should aim to have a diet that consists of about 50 percent carbohydrate,10 to 20 percent protein while keeping fat to about 20 to 30 percent.

And you can look for the hashtag #dieticianapproved to see posts that may show you a more balanced, yet still delicious meal idea to try.