Images of Healthy Foods With A Lot of Likes On Social Media Influence Eating Habits

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Do you ever stop to think about how you’re being influenced by what you see on social media?

It could be the case that you like what others think of your pictures, and so when presented with an image where many people have clicked on it or liked them – in this way their approval becomes another form for validation. These types of influences can have an especially powerful impact on choices we make about our health; research has documented that social media can affect the choices, good or bad, people make about maintaining a healthy life. 

The study involved participants ages 18-48, who were given two types of Instagram photos to look at-images of healthy food (mostly fruits and vegetables) and images of higher calorie foods, such as cakes, biscuits and pastries. Participants also looked at non-food related imagery. Each image had different numbers of likes; from a few to a lot. After viewing these images, participants were given access to grapes or cookies to see which they would choose to eat. Researchers noted that grapes were consumed about 14% more of the time than the cookies, suggesting a potential correlation between viewing highly liked/endorsed images and eating choices and behaviours. 

It has been made evident that encouraging people to follow social media accounts with a lot of influence and promoting positive eating habits could help others adopt similar behaviours.

Sources: Eureka Alert!CirculationPsychological Science

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