For decades, nutritionists have recommended food journaling as a way to keep tabs on your diet, but new science says that is so last century. According to Science Daily, a study from the University of Washington demonstrates that posting food photos on Instagram is the effective new way millennials are tracking their food intake and meeting health goals.
The study's researchers extensively interviewed 16 consistent "foodgrammers," users who frequently share their meals on Instagram with hashtags like #fooddiary and #foodjournal, about how social media can help or hinder one's fitness goals. What they found was that logging one's food on Instagram was similarly effective—and way more interesting—than keeping a traditional food log.
Keep scrolling to learn how foodgramming can make you a healthier eater.
First off, the study's lead author, Christina Chung, says that Instagramming your food, as opposed to logging it in an app or journal, is not only more exciting but also more socially accepted. Whipping out a food journal at brunch would be weird, but snapping an Instagram of your açaí bowl wouldn't. "Everyone's doing it, and it doesn't look weird," she says.
In addition, having physical evidence of your meals can be more compelling than just seeing them written down, especially if you're eating something that's not so healthy. "When you only have one data point for a pizza or donut, it's easy to rationalize that away," senior author Sean Munson, PhD, assistant professor of human centered design and engineering at UW, told Science Daily. But he continues to explain that "when you see a whole tiled grid of them," it forces you to be honest with yourself.
The community aspect of Instagram also helps keep dieters accountable. "Instagram … helped me because I was taking a picture of [my food]. It's real, and it does exist, and it does count towards what I was eating. And then putting up a visual image of it really helped me stay honest," said one participant.
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For more proof that social media can have a real impact on your diet, read about how YouTube convinced me to go vegan.