“There’s substantial evidence that what we believe others typically do or eat can affect our own behaviors,” says study author Lily Hawkins, a health psychology Ph.D. student at Aston University in Birmingham, England.
The existing research, however, has focused on real-life habits. This study is the first to extend that knowledge to social media.
The bottom line:
More research needs to be done to determine whether this has long-term health consequences.
In the meantime, Hawkins suggests cleansing your social feeds, for example, by posting nutritious meals and unfollowing accounts that don't align with your food goals. “If we’re all more mindful about what we post and who we follow, we may be able to nudge one another towards healthier choices,” she says.