Who is learning about “clean eating” diets or learning from nutrition professionals on social media?

Published by communicatinghealth on

Presented at the 10th Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition

Presented at the 10th Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition

Incorporating the Joint Annual Scientific Meeting of the NSA and the NSNZ

‘Nutrition Solutions for a Changing World’


Author: M Adamski
Co-authors: K Klassen, L Brennan, M Lim, C Lombard, T McCaffrey, M Reid, H Truby


There has been growing concern about the use of social media (SM) to promote non-evidence based diet trends like 'clean eating' in place of qualified nutrition advice. The aim of this study was to explore the characteristics of individuals using SM to learn about nutrition-related topics and to compare and contrast these characteristics between two distinct topics: 1) learning about clean-eating or detox diets (CEDD) and 2) from nutrition professionals (NP). Learners from a 3-week online course "Food as Medicine" completed a survey. Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to evaluate the characteristics associated with learning from social media: 1) about CEDD and 2) from NP. 1005 learners from 70 countries completed the survey; mean age was 50years (s.d. 15). CEDD information-seeking was negatively associated with trusting information from healthcare professionals OR 0.64 (95%CI 0.52 to 0.79), and positively associated with trusting social media posts by friends OR 1.3 (95%CI 1.02 to 1.71), and reading social media posts of strangers more than friends OR 1.34 (95%CI 1.09 to 1.66). NP information-seeking was negatively associated with trusting media OR 0.70 (95%CI 0.56 to 0.90). There were differences between people accessing information about CEDD or from NPs, including trusting various information sources and social media user profiles. Nutrition professionals should try to understand the different user profiles to ensure public health nutrition messages are effectively targeted.


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