June 18, 2024

TikTok has become a go-to app for finding useful information — from what skincare products to use to the best airport hacks to make travel less painful.

However, certain health and wellness tips should be taken with a grain of salt, according to new research.

A recent study organized by MyFitnessPal in conjunction with Dublin City University, has revealed that 57% of fans on the streaming platform are using it as their main source of nutrition information.

Keil warned that not all fitness TikTok influencers are trustworthy.

They have also concluded that just 2.1% of that info is actually accurate and regulated with public health codes.

Over 67,000 videos on the social media platform were tested for the study, with 2,000 people being observed.

Some of the most viral health hacks that have surfaced on TikTok, include “nature’s Ozempic”– a.k.a the supplement Berberine and the practice of marinating your Diet Coke.

MyFitnessPal Chief Marketing Officer Katie Keil gave some insight into why people take TikTok wellness clips as gospel, telling Delish recently that the trends become popular because they have a “sensational hook.” 

“The more unusual, the more it spreads,” she explained. “The best thing we as consumers of social media can do is improve our digital health literacy—and that starts with following credible experts and verifying what you hear against science.”

Some of the most viral health hacks that have surfaced on TikTok, include “nature’s Ozempic.” Getty Images

The research also noted that 87% of millennials and Gen Z users wholeheartedly trust TikTok for nutrition guidance.

Sixty-seven percent divulged that they try to implement at least one fitness trend from the app in their daily lives every few weeks.

Keil then advised against listening to social media for any fads that “promising a quick fix,” as these can be too dangerous.

The “internal shower” trend sees users consuming chia seeds drenched in water. Getty Images

Headlines such as “quick weight loss” or “losing belly fat fast” will set up “unrealistic expectations.”

“We’ve seen a lot of fad diets go viral recently and they can cause gastrointestinal distress—like when consuming large quantities of chia seeds with the ‘internal shower’ trend,” she said.

The “internal shower” beverage stems from the idea that one can treat their constipation by simply mixing two tablespoons of chia seeds into a cup of water with a splash of lemon juice to get the bowels moving and grooving.

Keil warned that some fad diets “severely limit nutrient intake by focusing on eating only one type of food.”

“Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of whole foods is a better approach to maintaining overall health and well-being,” she stated.

Keil then advised against listening to social media for any fads that “promising a quick fix,” as these cane be too dangerous. SASITHORN – stock.adobe.com

She added that viewers should just be careful at the content they watch, as many videos are created in an “over-simplified or promote a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.”

Therefore, just because one wellness influencer has a high following, does not mean their claims are valid and authentic.

“Be cautious,” she forewarned, also expressing that people need to verify the information presented to them first before they dive right in and use the hacks.

“Being responsible consumers when scrolling means getting a second opinion and ensuring other health and nutrition professionals have similar recommendations,” Keil said.

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