It is a real paradox that research from the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University in the United States discovered. Scientists analyzed the actions of hundreds of Pinterest users and influencers on this social network to see how they relate to food publications.
Overall, people like healthy meals with more poultry, fish, and vegetables. Except that the latter then switch to high-fat, high-sugar and high-calorie recipes when they go offline. Hence, there is a real contrast between what we are supposed to see others and what we really do.
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Hong Xue, who led this study, explains:
It’s an interesting discrepancy between what the creators posted / liked and how the users actually consumed the information. Pinners (a classic Pinterest practice for presenting content) are more likely to publish recipes that are socially rewarded with likes and repins. They tend to adhere to an elitist social norm set by celebrities and influencers who advocate healthier diets.
Conversely, the pictures with recipes higher in fat and calories get much more commentary, which means that part of the public is showing more interest in this diet.
This research is interesting because it shows the importance of large platforms on eating habits. The authors point out that for the least healthy recipes, it would be a good idea for influencers to offer advice to internet users on reducing fat content. Health organizations would also benefit from a different form of communication. So that healthy eating is perceived as a pleasure rather than an effort.
This connection between social networks and eating behavior has long been known. In February 2020, we reported to you about this study published in the medical journal Preventive Medicine, which shows that using these services too often would lead young people to drink more.