How Instagram can offer food for thought about diet

Foodie photos are nothing new, but reports suggest the platform can promote better eating habits. Here’s how some health care organizations are using it to talk about nutrition.

Constantly sharing your dinner on Instagram could help you lose weight.

At least that’s what a new study from the University of Washington suggests. Christina Chung, the article’s lead author, spoke with CNN about her research.

She said:

The benefit of photos is that it’s more fun to do than taking out a booklet or typing hundreds of words of description in a [weight-loss app] … Plus, it’s more socially appropriate for people who are trying to track their diets to snap a photo of their plate when they’re out with friends: Everyone’s doing it, and it doesn’t look weird.

There is also evidence that the platform’s community provides a morale boost for would-be dieters.

CNN shared the story of Lisa Pessah-Bloom, a pre-diabetic who turned to Instagram for support:

The first picture I posted was a mason jar of water with lemons,” Pessah-Bloom said. “I had just learned about my high blood sugar, and I wrote, ‘Making lemonade out of lemons.’ […] One person posted my post on her page—she had over 15,000 followers, and she said, ‘Let’s give @thepalemoworkingmama our support,’ and then all of a sudden I had 100 followers. This was someone I didn’t even know—someone who has plenty of her own followers, but she really wanted me to succeed on my journey.”

Instagram has other benefits as a platform for talking about healthy eating habits. It’s a platform where users can avoid politics and other social media quagmires. It’s just pictures, and those pictures can be tantalizing.

traditional swedish meatballs 🇸🇪

A post shared by Deliciously Legal (@deliciously_legal) on

Health organizations can use Instagram to share healthy recipes and nutrition advice with their audience.

Some offer pictures of fresh fruits and veggies.

Sometimes they link to nutritious recipes.

Going for a Pizza Pie on #PiDay? Check out these healthy recipes. {link in bio} 🍕

A post shared by Presence Health (@presencehealth) on

Others celebrate food holidays.

Communicators, do you use Instagram to talk about food and healthy diets? How could you support your own community of healthy home chefs?

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