Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Trust TikTok For Nutrition Advice

“People won’t be able to follow the Mediterranean diet except,” says Margaret Raber, DrPH, assistant professor in the Center for Child Nutrition Research at the Agricultural Research Service’s Agricultural Research Service. when they understand what it is and how to integrate it into the home food environment. US Department of Agriculture and Baylor College of Medicine, lead author of the study.

“Our findings suggest that while users will find some high-quality content created by medical professionals, they will also encounter conflicting, ambiguous, or even misleading information.” while discovering #mediterraneandiet on TikTok.”


Raber will present the findings online at NUTRITION 2022 LIVE ONLINE, the flagship annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association.

The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern that emphasizes minimally processed, plant-based foods – think vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans – while minimizing added sugars, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Olive oil has outstanding properties and can be used in moderation with fish, dairy and poultry.

While the diet is rooted in the traditional eating of several countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, not all of the diverse cuisines of the Mediterranean region reflect the Mediterranean diet as Scientists and doctors understand it. This has led to confusion about what constitutes the Mediterranean diet.

To gauge how this plays out on social media, Researchers analyzed the first 200 videos that appeared on TikTok with the hashtag ##mediterraneandiet in August 2021. They found that most posts (78%) were related to health in some way, but less than 9% provided a definition of what the Mediterranean diet entails. One in five articles is completely unrelated to health, focusing solely on food and culture from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

“It is alarming that a large portion (69%) of these ‘culture’ articles promote foods that do not fall within the healthy eating pattern promoted by the diet,” said Mr. Raber. Mediterranean diet, such as red meat, refined carbohydrates, sweets, and processed foods. For example, lamb kebabs and pita bread are common foods in some Mediterranean countries but are not suitable for the Mediterranean diet.

Overall, research shows that content created by advertisers with health credentials tends to be more detailed and of higher quality. Just over half (53%) of the posters listed health information in their account information page, even though these posters actually mentioned their health information in less than half their posts, making it difficult for TikTok users to identify which videos were created by the posters with credential health.

For those looking for nutritional information on social media, Raber suggests searching for content by posters with health information and asking your own healthcare provider if the information seems contradictory or confusing. For public health practitioners and clinicians, she said the study points to the need for new strategies for communicating about nutrition and combating misinformation online.

“We need to be wary of information found on social media, especially if it affects health and wellness decisions,” says Raber. “I don’t think we can fully harness the power of social media to promote health unless we address the quality of information and provide public tools to help navigate these issues.” this new type of media.”

Source: Eurekalert

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