Eating Well in the Age of Social Media
Everybody wants to eat well and know that their food comes from a trustworthy source. As we log on to Twitter, upload filtered photos on Instagram, and get our news from Facebook, it might seem more difficult than ever. In the information age, shouldn’t knowledge about food be easily accessible? You would think so, but as some people have pointed out, social media has a way of eschewing the truth and presenting through an artifice of sorts. That’s a problem when you’re seeking out reliable information on clean eating. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. There are a wealth of resources throughout social media for healthy eating, and it’s worth it to parse through your feed to find good food. With some caution and social networking savvy, you can see through transparent ploys and identify the information that will help you eat and live better.
Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are often utilized by fitness gurus and food companies alike to expand their brands, reach consumers and advertise new products. You might notice that some people claim titles and label themselves experts without any apparent certifications to back it up. No matter how many thousands or even millions of followers these people have, their advice is unlikely to be trustworthy. Seek out and follow recognized professionals in nutrition and fitness, like this Facebook page written, updated, and maintained by registered dietitians. Don’t follow somebody if their credentials are hidden or unclear.
Hack the Hashtag
Hashtags are one of the most popular ways to communicate and share trending topics on social media, but it’s known that these are sometimes little more than an advertising campaign. It isn’t uncommon for food and fitness tips to start trending, but when they do, you can investigate by looking for their origin and considering the intentions of the source. If a company started the hashtag, it’s probably an advertisement, so you should consider how honest it is likely to be. A little discernment can go a long way when it comes to trends.
Be Wary of Fads
Hashtags aren’t the only place you’ll find flash-in-the-pan healthy eating trends. How many fad diets have come and gone over the past few decades? They’re all over the web and social media. While these focus on shedding pounds as quickly as possible, substituting natural and healthy foods for processed ones allows you to make more meaningful changes for improved lifelong health. Clean food startup Hampton Creek, for example, has begun using ingredients such as pea protein instead of additives and GMOs. By focusing on simple changes like this rather than unrealistic diets, you can truly invest in your wellbeing.
See Through to Social Media Screen
Social media has enabled food companies to market and reach consumers in entirely new ways. On Instagram you can even find elaborately staged photos of fast food that might make it pass for gourmet. Look for social media that’s honest and upfront. There’s nothing wrong with nice photos, marketing, and packaging, but it should be coupled with clear information about the food on display. Just because something looks healthy, doesn’t mean it is. Instead of falling prey to the smokescreens of social media marketing, find food inspiration from reliable sources and companies who are transparent about their products.
Look to the Source
When it comes down to it, social media can be a great way to reach out and communicate, but it can also be a barrier between consumers and the information they need. You need facts about ingredients and nutritional information in order to make informed decisions, so look past pictures and pages for the real knowledge. Instagram accounts that include details about the food pictured, like the one managed by Hampton Creek, are a good start for maintaining transparency in social media. Consumers deserve the knowledge necessary for clean eating. When used the right way, social media is a great resource for anybody interested in clean eating. You don’t have to be a nutritional expert to employ a few tricks and better understand what’s reliable information and what isn’t. With the ability to discern and see in context, you can get the knowledge you need to make wise decisions about your food. Take control of your health through true clean eating, and when you feel inclined to share, you can even use social media to spread healthy tips to your friends, too!