#healthy is trending on social media, but less so in our kitchens

Tiktok may have had GenZers and Millenials bulking up on cherry tomatoes and feta cheese for the now famous “Baked Feta Pasta”, but healthy food trends are not as present in our kitchens as on our social media feeds.

A recent study found that even though many social media users publicly “like” healthy recipes their stovetop might tell you a different story.

The researchers found a positive relationship between the popularity of “pinners” (Pinterest users who post content) lower fat and calories, as well as a lack of red meat, in recipes. However, when they looked at the number of photos, videos, and comments that were most popular, they found recipes higher in fat and calories. They also conducted a sentiment analysis of the comments and found that Pinterest users value taste more than health when commenting and sharing content.

It appears that many of us like the idea of eating healthily, but when it comes down to it taste is usually the big winner.

Social media create an online hype for healthier foods which do not necessarily end up on our plates. The contrast between the “healthy” recipes and the “tasty” recipes that are featured on social media may be too large, giving the (faulty) impression that food cannot be healthy and tasty at the same time. One the one hand fitness celebrities promote highly nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories,  and on the other side of the spectrum there is mukbang – videos promoting eating large amounts of very calory-dense food.

It is widely known that taste is a main driver in food choice. The lead author of the study suggests that social media accounts sharing healthy recipes need to emphasize taste and not only nutritional value, to bridge the perceived gap between health and taste. Healthy recipes may have a hard time competing with higher-calory foods, however taste needs to play an important role when developing healthy recipes just as well.

Read more here.

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