A recent study showed that social media might play a vital role in achieving weight loss goals – but, which is the best platform for it?
Recently, a PhD researcher, while discussing the two popular social platforms – Reddit and Instagram — claimed that the former is more trusted compared to the later when it comes to health-related information.
Tim Squirrel, a doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh, who specialises on internet nutrition communities, explained on Quartz why browsing Reddit can be helpful and Instagram can be harmful to those who are planning to lose weight, put on some muscles or just improve their health.
"Searching for diet advice on Instagram has become the nutritional equivalent of self-diagnosing your medical ailments through Google," Squirrel writes.
Squirrel further explains that in Instagram, the stars are often paid to tout the benefits of various "health" products and regimens that they're promoting. On the other hand, Redditors aren't selling anything. It's more of a platform where people share their knowledge and experience which can be of great help for those who are planning to start a new diet.
For example, Reddit r/paleo is a forum used for the discussion of the paleo diet, as a case study. The case study can be helpful because the diet is said to be unsafe and nutritionally incomplete in a US News & World Report.
Moreover, Redditors are relatively more open to new ideas, especially, when they are backed by concrete evidence.
While on Instagram things are different. The Whole30 diet which is widely popular in this platform has been ranked as the worst diet of the year by the US News & World Report.
Moreover, Instagram fitness culture can be harmful. A study conducted by Dr Marika Tiggemann, a psychology professor at Australia's Flinders University revealed that even briefly looking at Instagram can have an immediate negative effect on self-esteem.
The small experimental study published in the scientific journal Body Image showed that women who browsed fitness images on Instagram had lower levels of body satisfaction than the women who browsed travel images on the same platform.
"In daily life, these small, one-off effects [on body image] are likely to cumulate to a much bigger effect," she told INSIDER.
However, it's always better to approach both the platforms with some amount of scepticism as one might also find helpful health information on Instagram and harmful health information on Reddit.