You are currently viewing Reasons Why ‘What I Consume Throughout the Day’ Videos Are Discouraged by Dietitians.

Reasons Why ‘What I Consume Throughout the Day’ Videos Are Discouraged by Dietitians.

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

While scrolling through social media or going down a YouTube rabbit hole, you’ve probably come across “What I Consume In A Day” videos. In these posts, you typically get a compilation of the poster’s meals, snacks, and beverages for the day they’re posting about. Sometimes there’s nutritional guidance or a product endorsement in the post, and frequently, you’ll see a selfie in the mirror or an excessive depiction of toned abs.

These videos are highly engaging and can provide entertainment and recipe suggestions, but for those susceptible to disordered eating behaviors, they can also pose a threat to mental well-being and one’s connection with food and their body. Continue reading to comprehend why nutrition experts recommend avoiding them.

The Emergence of “What I Consume in A Day” Videos

“What I Eat In A Day” content is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been present for decades. In a 1952 Pageant magazine interview, for example, Marilyn Monroe explained her daily exercise and nutrition routine. Glimpses into what famous individuals consume have always been a key feature of entertainment media. Then, as blogging gained popularity in the early 2000s, food and health bloggers began sharing their meals and snacks in an online diet diary format.

This trend transitioned to YouTube in the 2010s, as users posted and monitored their food intake, before ultimately spreading to social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, gaining even more momentum in 2020. Some of these videos garnered millions of views. In addition to utilizing these videos as a means to engage and expand their audience, influencers have also used them to endorse products in partnership with brands, generating income in the process.

Some influencers utilize these videos to convey positive and inclusive messages (for instance, a day of meals for an intuitive eater or a realistic portrayal of life as a new mother). However, in certain cases, there is an element of “if you eat like this, you can resemble this.” For instance, a common cliché in this genre is the initial shot of toned abs.

Alex d’Elia, RDN, is a functional and integrative dietitian who specializes in mental health. When asked about the allure of these videos, she states, “People want guidance, and they enjoy visual content. I also believe that individuals inherently appreciate seeing structured versions of what they could potentially do. Nutrition can be perplexing, so observing what someone perceives as ‘an authority’ caters to that sense of satisfaction. As a society, we have become highly visual, so if someone presents us with a video demonstrating what to do, it will be more appealing and captivating.”

She also mentions that due to social media algorithms, the more of these videos you consume, the more likely the algorithm is to show you similar content in your feed.

While these videos are not inherently negative, and many of them are well-intentioned, there has been concern for quite some time that they have the potential to trigger unhealthy eating habits and negatively impact people’s relationships with food and their bodies, particularly for those who are more susceptible.

How This Trend Could Harm Your Connection with Food and Your Body

Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and owner of Chelsey Amer Nutrition.

She advises, “We all appear to have a fondness for witnessing what others consume, but videos titled ‘What I Consume in a Day’ that kick off with a self-portrait in the mirror displaying well-defined abdominal muscles or that emphasize someone’s physical appearance insinuate that ‘if you have the same diet as me, you can resemble me.’ However, that is not how it functions. You can meticulously adhere to your favorite influencer’s dietary regimen, yet your physique will still appear and feel dissimilar.” While these videos imply, she remarks, “‘that anyone can resemble me by adopting this eating pattern,’ but each of us possesses our own hereditary blueprint that governs our body dimensions.


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      Some of the problematic aspects of these videos that dietitians have identified include extremely low-calorie content, excessively strict diets, an unhealthy fixation on calories, counting macronutrients, or similar approaches.

      Deanna Wolfe, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and host of a podcast, highlights, “‘What I Eat In A Day’ videos are commonly sought after by individuals who already struggle with their relationship to food, confront issues of restrictive dieting, orthorexia (an obsession with healthy or ‘clean’ eating), or eating disorders. These videos often lead to comparison regarding food choices, even if that is not the intention—thoughts like ‘Oh, I consume much more than this’, ‘far worse than this’, ‘greater amount of carbohydrates than this,’ or ‘insufficient protein or vegetables or fruits.’ Many of these videos also promote expensive dietary supplements.”

      Another issue lies in the fact that these videos generally lack context and tend to depict an idealized and carefully curated notion of “healthy eating.” The videos do not necessarily reflect the person’s overall diet. They also frequently omit contextual details such as their level of physical activity, metabolism, or any underlying health concerns. It is also important to note that not everyone who posts these videos is a certified health expert, which means that the potential for misinformation about what constitutes a “healthy” diet is high.

      D’Elia suggests, “I believe they can serve as inspiration for recipes, but they should not be used as a template for your own diet. You are only seeing a small portion of that person’s life and not the complete picture of why they make those food choices.” She emphasizes the significance of understanding that everyone has different needs. “What matters most is the reason behind your own food choices.”

      While these videos are not inherently harmful (many acknowledge the benefits of nutrient-rich foods), they can induce pressure in individuals who are easily triggered to adopt the eating patterns they see in the videos, regardless of whether it is suitable for them. This can lead to feelings of guilt or inadequacy if they do not adhere to those patterns. The videos may also encourage comparisons of food choices, portion sizes, meal timing, meal frequency, and other aspects of eating. Again, this is particularly problematic for those prone to disordered eating behaviors and obsession with food and body image.

      Amer asserts, “You never truly know what someone is consuming or what food-related challenges someone is grappling with. Based on what I have observed in these videos, many influencers are not consuming adequate amounts and not following well-rounded, balanced diets that I would recommend as a registered dietitian for the general population. You are unaware of what happens behind the scenes. It is harmful to blindly adopt someone else’s dietary patterns because what works for them is unlikely to work for you.”

      Given that many of these videos revolve around appearance-related goals (such as achieving toned abs, clear skin, weight loss, etc.), and contribute to the perpetuation of societal beauty standards, there is a risk of individuals developing body image issues as they compare their own bodies and eating habits to those depicted in the videos.

      How to Encourage a More Balanced, Personalized Approach to Nutrition

      Experts concur that it’s crucial to bear in mind that each individual possesses distinct nutritional requirements. When individuals share details about their dietary intake, it’s important for them to highlight that it works for them personally but may not be suitable for everyone else.

      Promoting mindful eating practices and striving to be attuned to the body’s cravings and needs is valuable for cultivating a healthier relationship with food.

      Pay attention to what feels pleasurable. What provides you with energy? What keeps you satisfied? What makes you feel nourished?

      If you struggle with body image, Amer suggests, “The primary step to enhancing your relationship with food is to determine the reason behind your current struggles. This often involves reflecting on the past in order to create a more positive mindset about food. For many of my clients, this could be growing up in a family overly focused on diet culture, like having a ‘health-obsessed mother.'”

      She also recommends letting go of calorie counters and tracking devices. “These tools can exert control over individuals. Instead, try to reconnect with your body’s biological needs to develop trust after years of dieting. Pay attention to your body’s hunger cues rather than simply eating according to the clock. This can be a significant step toward recovery and improving your relationship with food.”

      If you require assistance, consider working with a dietitian and/or a therapist who specializes in this area. Amer and Wolfe offer group programs tailored to help women attain food freedom, while d’Elia provides nutrition counseling to support mental well-being.

      Practicing Mindful Social Media Consumption

      Engaging in mindful media consumption is crucial for mental health. As you scroll through social media, take a moment to evaluate how various posts make you feel and why.

      When you come across “What I Eat In A Day” videos, take a quick assessment. Is there any context provided? Are they trying to sell something? Does their brand align with your values?

      If you haven’t done so already, it might be time for a social media audit. Unfollow or mute accounts that trigger feelings of inadequacy. Fill your feed with accounts that uplift you. Amer advises, “If someone’s content makes you uncomfortable, unfollow them. If you prefer not to unfollow, you can mute their content and revisit it when you feel ready. You can also follow hashtags that interest you to discover new creators who promote a neutral or positive self-image. Additionally, don’t hesitate to reach out to dietitians or creators you follow to ask for recommendations for similar accounts.”

      Amer’s top tip for responsible scrolling: “Take every video you see on social media with a pinch of salt. You never truly know what someone is eating off camera. Even if they do show everything they eat, you don’t know how they feel about it or their body. They might be struggling significantly, yet still present a happy smile and confident demeanor on social media.”

      Wolfe suggests muting accounts that trigger negative emotions and shares her behind-the-scenes perspective: “I used to create these types of videos several years ago and would prepare more visually appealing meals on those days or combine meals from multiple days into one, as I would forget to film certain things.” Nowadays, she prefers sharing her favorite foods within the context of videos that revolve around themes like “‘5 filling snack foods I always keep in my pantry,’ which provide snack ideas without restricting specific foods or macronutrients.”

      D’Elia echoes this sentiment.

      If you observe that watching these videos is influencing how you feel about consuming food, I would make an effort to refrain from engaging with that type of material to prevent obtaining more “What I Eat In A Day” videos in your feed. “You must commit to making that alteration.”


      Although not everyone will be adversely affected by “What I Eat In A Day” videos, individuals who are susceptible to disordered eating and negative body image may find themselves triggered by this content. Nutrition professionals recommend practicing mindful consumption of media and seeking professional assistance in developing a positive relationship with food and your body if you require support.

      Thank you for your input!