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Our Social Media's Obsession with #'s

Kim Shapira
October 10, 2023
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 min read
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Do you ever just jump on social media and think- who are these people that are providing you with information? Are they real experts? Probably not, most are “content creators or social influencers”.

Let’s say you decide to search for #food or #diet. What appears next should make you ask yourself, are these the right people to share food content and weight-related suggestions on your nutrition? Just like we have different hair colors and shoe sizes, we all have different body types. What is good for one is not always good for all.

As a practicing dietitian for over 25 years and parent of 3 teens who watch TikTok videos, I hear and scroll through the latest trends and unhealthy obsessions with nutrition content and hashtags. When I make a post on social media, as an expert in the field of diet and nutrition and sustainable wellness, I have concerns. I know firsthand in my practice, that if I am ever going to offer you a suggestion, I need to do my due diligence. I need some personal background and context, which is not offered when you search for something on the internet.

I’m also always watching the latest studies that have been done analyzing such videos from popular nutrition, food, and weight-related hashtags. The numbers stemming from searches are mind-blowing- there are billions that search the topic of weight and weight-related hashtags. When I post anywhere, I am always concerned about how I say it, and what I say, because it may affect someone the wrong way. Finding the right source is so important. 

I also think about how social media has glorified weight loss. If you are someone who has concerns about your health and/or weight and don’t know who to ask, you might just jump online to look for answers. Just know knowledge is key. And it’s A-Okay, but you need to search for the right topics in the right locations. I, for one, fully support the journey you take and the efforts you make to build a healthier way of life for yourself. Whether from habit changes, doctor-prescribed medications like a semaglutide, diet maintenance, a diet including portion control, exercise, or food sensitivity tests to help you enjoy your journey.

I get asked all the time, how do we know the information we are seeing online is accurate? My reply is, that it’s always best to get advice from a registered dietitian or a healthcare professional when you're unsure about a nutrition suggestion. We can provide you with personalized guidance tailored to yourspecific needs and health goals.

Here are the red flags to look out for:

  1. Lack of credible sources: Ensure that the information is backed by reputable sources and scientific studies.
  2. Overhyped claims: Be cautious of extreme promises or "magic" solutions. Sustainable changes in diet are usually gradual.
  3. One-size-fits-all advice: Nutrition should be personalized, so be wary of advice that doesn't take into account your individual health status and goals.
  4. Too good to be true: If something sounds too easy or too miraculous, it's worth double-checking its validity.
  5. Limited context: A single study or anecdotal evidence may not provide the full picture. Look for a consensus among experts.

By staying informed and consulting with professionals, you can make informed decisions about your diet and overall health.

Food is the beginning, the middle, and the end of your health.




Kim Shapira

Kim Shapira

dietitian and nutrition therapist.

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