Equal Time Fall 2019

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to follow specific dietary restrictions in order to be healthy or to look a certain way. Some YouTubers also spend a lot of time preparing meals or buying expensive ingredients, which doesn’t fit with my daily routine. These pricey ingredients, while they do have some health benefits, aren’t a required component of a healthy lifestyle. “I think they may send out the wrong message depending on the position of the influencer and their audience,” says Victoria Berlandi-Short, a senior nutrition science major at Syracuse University. She says these videos can provide some people with inspiration about healthy meals, but they may also send a message that a person has to eat like an influencer to look a certain way or to be healthy. That’s one thing I noticed in all the videos I watched—they all gave nutrition advice. Ashton used collagen powder in her coffee to “help her joints and bones,” a claim that is actually not substantiated by nutritionists. Nancy Rindfuss, a registered dietitian nutritionist and director of the dietetics program at Syracuse University, cautions against listening to advice from people without credentials. For

example, a number of health and fitness videos suggest using protein shakes to help you hit your protein goals. “Most people in the United States get more than enough protein without supplements,” she says. Rindfuss also raises the question of how these YouTubers are qualified to be giving advice. “I think [these videos] are a rich opportunity for dietitians to educate people, but if it’s not a dietitian, I’m concerned about who’s giving the advice.” I do feel that YouTube videos are getting better about showing realistic meal portions and snacks, rather than tiny morsels and unhealthy diets. But it’s still important to recognize that these YouTubers likely have some days where they don’t eat as perfectly as they pretend to. It’s easy to eat a certain way for one day, especially for the camera. Eating healthy is something developed over time, not just one day of eating “clean” or “raw.” A diet that incorporates fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and all the food groups in moderation (including dessert!) is going to lead to a healthier you, both physically and mentally.