Black Bean & Tofu Burrito Bowl

This recipe might look really long and complicated but it can actually be put together in under 20 minutes – it’s that easy!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2) 

For the bowls: 

  • 200g firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ½ can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • Red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil 

For the rice: 

  • ½ cup uncooked brown rice (or use a microwaveable pack)
  • 1 tsp lime juice 
  • Handful of chopped coriander 

For the tomato and corn salsa: 

  • 200g cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • ½ can sweet corn 
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

For the guacamole: 

  • 1 avocado 
  • 1 tbsp lime juice 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ¼ red onion, diced 
  • Salt to taste 

METHOD 

For the tofu: 

  1. Toss the cubed tofu in the garlic powder, chilli powder, paprika, salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. 
  2. Heat some oil in a pan and cook the spiced tofu over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until it’s nicely browned. 

For the rice: 

  1. Cook the brown rice following the package instructions. Add lime juice and coriander and give it a good mix. 

For the tomato and corn salsa: 

  1. Combine the tomatoes, corn, diced onion, lime juice, salt and pepper into a small bowl and mix. 

For the guacamole: 

  1. Mash the avocado in a small bowl and then mix in the lime juice, garlic powder, diced onion and salt.

For the bowls: 

  1. Mix the thinly sliced red cabbage with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and leave to sit. 
  2. Steam the kale with a pinch of salt until it’s cooked through (about 5 minutes). 
  3. Build your bowl starting with the steamed kale and cooked brown rice, adding the black beans, cooked tofu, tomato and corn salsa, red cabbage and guacamole. 

 

Type 2 diabetes: Can changing dietary habits delay diagnosis?

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disorder characterised by either insulin deficiency or resistance [1]. It is the most common form of diabetes as it affects 90-95% of patients [2]. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) more than 400 million people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on a global scale [3]. Most patients report symptoms of excessive urination, tiredness, excessive thirst as well as weight loss [4]. Type 2 diabetes has been associated with dramatic consequences on overall health as it has been linked with cardiovascular and mental health disorders [5]. Also, it has been named as the sixth superior cause of disability worldwide [5]. All of the above contribute to premature mortality. This is further supported by research which illustrated that life expectancy of patients with diabetes is reduced by seven years when compared to healthy individuals [6].

The roots of origin of type 2 diabetes have not been clearly established yet. However, scientists have identified a range of risk factors which have been proven to assist its development [7]. Such factors include both non-modifiable (e.g. increasing age, family history and ethnicity) as well as modifiable (e.g. diet and lack of physical activity) all of which can contribute to type 2 diabetes. Given this, healthcare practitioners thrive to promote a range of lifestyle changes targeting the aforementioned modifiable risk factors in an attempt to prevent or delay the progression of type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals.

Dietary Advice

  • Switch to wholegrain carbohydrates and fibre: Fibre refers to complex carbohydrates which neither be digested nor absorbed. As a result, glucose release in the bloodstream slows down thereby stabilizing blood sugar levels. Fibre has been proven to improve glycemic control as well as blood lipids and body weight in a recent systematic review which evaluated the impact of wholegrains on diabetes prevention [8]. The recommended daily intake of fibre for adults is 30 grams per day. Examples of fibre-rich food include brown rice, oats, pulses as well as brown pasta.
  • Reduce consumption of free sugars: Free sugars are defined as “all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer and sugars naturally present in honey, syrup, fruit juice and fruit juice concentrates” [9]. Every day sources of free sugars include biscuits, added sugar in coffee or tea as well as shakes. Apart from their lack of nutrients, such products provide a substantial amount of calories leading to weight gain. Weight gain has been one of the most common risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes therefore high risk individuals are highly recommended to stick to no more than 30 grams of free sugar per day.
  • Reduce dietary salt intake: Increased consumption of sodium has been globally associated with increasing blood pressure. Likewise to weight gain, high blood pressure is a strong predictor of type 2 diabetes. As such high risk patients are advised to eat a maximum of 6 grams of salt per day.
  • Limit alcohol: The recommended alcohol intake for adults is no more than 14 units per week. A unit of alcohol is measures as 10ml of a drink such as a glass of wine or 1⁄2 pint of beer. Alcohol is a source of both excess calories and free sugars both of which contribute to type 2 diabetes development. As such, susceptible individuals are advised to stick to the above recommendation.
  • Reduce consumption of red and processed meat: Processed meat is defined as “meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation” [10]. Examples include bacon and sausages. Red and processed meat is an independent risk factor of type 2 diabetes development. Large epidemiological studies conducted in previous years illustrated a strong positive correlation between intake of red and processed meat and type 2 diabetes development [11; 12; 13]. Further to the above, red and processed meat has been linked with weight gain, smoking and a reduction in physical activity further increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. As such high risk individuals are recommended to eat a maximum of 70 grams per day.
  • Increase consumption of oily fish: Oily fish describes a species of fish which have oil in their soft tissues such as salmon and tuna. In recent years, oily fish has been linked with a lower risk of developing diabetes urging susceptible individuals to meet the recommendation of at least 2 portions per week [14].
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables: An increase in fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with a reduction in dietary free sugars. Given this, UK practitioners encourage high risk individuals to follow the 5 a day recommendation in an attempt to stabilise blood sugar levels. Examples of 1 portion include 1 medium-sized fruit, 150 ml of fruit juice and half a plate of vegetables.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet originated from the dietary preferences of individuals living in Crete, the rest of Greece and South Italy [15]. It has been described as one of the healthiest eating practices worldwide [16]. The main constituents of the Mediterranean diet are plant-based food products, fresh fruit, olive oil, dairy products as well as wine [15]. Another key feature of the diet is the lack of processed and red meat which reduces the intake of saturated fats to no more than 8% of the daily energy intake [15]. The characteristics of the Mediterranean diet are concurrent with the dietary advice offered to susceptible individuals therefore it is of no surprise that healthcare practitioners encourage people to adapt to this diet. A recent publication concluded that adherence to the Mediterranean diet significantly reduces the prospect of developing any form of diabetes by 21% [17]. This is further supported by the ATTICA study which took place in Greece and illustrated a negative relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the risk of developing any form of diabetes [16].

Herbal Medicine

The WHO has recommended the use of herbal plants as potential approaches for the management of type 2 diabetes. Up to date, more than 800 plants with hypoglycaemic properties have been identified, two of which have been proven to be effective. Given this, researchers are now investigating their potential as a means of prevention or delayed progression of type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Fenugreek: Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) was originally produced in the Middle East and belongs to the family of Leguminosae plants which contain an alkaloid trigonelline and choline [18]. These are derived from the dried ripe seeds and exert hypoglycaemic effects [18]. The high fibre content of the seeds slows down carbohydrate absorption thereby stabilising blood sugar levels [19].
  • Ginger: Ginger (Zingiber officinale roscoe) belongs to the family of Zingiberaceae plants [20]. It is the most widely consumed spice worldwide [21]. It consists of volatile oils and non-volatile pungent compounds which exert anti-diabetic properties [22].

References & Resources 

  1. Chatterjee S., Khunti K. and Davies M.J. (2017) ‘Type 2 diabetes’, The Lanchet, 389, pp. 2239-2251
  2. Forouhi N.G. and Wareham N.J. (2014) ‘Epidemiology of Diabetes ‘, Medicine, 42, pp. 698-702.
  3. WHO (2017) Diabetes Fact Sheet, Available at: http://www.who. Int/media centre/factsheets/fs312/en/ (Accessed: 13th July 2021).
  4. Bagchi D. and Sreejayan E. (2012) ‘Nutritional and therapeutic interventions for diabetes and metabolic syndrome’ Amsterdam Press
  5. GBD (2015) ‘Disease and injury incidence and prevalence collaborators. Global, regional and national incidence, prevalence and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease study’, The Lanchet, 388, pp. 1545-1602.
  6. Morgan C.L., Currie C.J. and Peters J.R. (2000) ‘Relationship between diabetes and mortality: A population study using record linkage’, Diabetes Care, 23, pp. 1103-1107.
  7. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) (2016) ‘Worldwide trends in diabetes since 1980: a pooled-analysis of 751 population-based studies within 4.4 million participants’, The Lanchet, 387, pp. 1513-1530
  8. ReynoldsA.N.,AkermanA.P.andMannJ.(2020)’Dietaryfibreandwholegrains in diabetes management: systematic review and meta-analyses’, PLoS Medicine, 17(3), [Online]. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32142510/ (Accessed: 12th July 2021)
  9. World Health Organization (2021) Reducing free sugars intake in children and adults, Available at: https://www.who.int/elena/titles/guidance_summaries/sugars_intake/en/ (Accessed: 12th July 2021).
  10. World Health Organization (2015) Cancer: Carcinogenicity of the consumption of red and processed meat, Available at: file:///C:/Users/Pavlina/Desktop/Presentation/Studies/Cancer_%20Carcinogen icity%20of%20the%20consumption%20of%20red%20meat%20and%20processe d%20meat.html (Accessed: 13th July 2021)
  11. Schulze M.B., Manson J.E., Willett W.C. and Hu F.B. (2003) ‘Processed meat intake and incidence of Type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women.’ Diabetologia, 46, pp. 1465-1473
  12. Song Y., Manson J.E., Buring J.E. and Liu S. (2004) ‘A prospective study of red meat consumption and type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and elderly women’, Diabetes Care, 27(9), pp. 2108-2115.
  13. Steinbrecher A., Erber E., Grandinetti A., Kolonel L.K. and Maskarinec G. (2011) ‘Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: The Multiethnic Cohort’, Public Health Nutrition, 14(4), pp. 568-574.
  14. Guo-Chong C., Rhonda A., Li-Qiang Q., Li-Hua C., Zhendong M., Yan Z., Yang L., Tao W., Thomas E. R. and Qibin Q. (2021) ‘Association of Oily and Nonoily Fish Consumption and Fish Oil Supplements With Incident Type 2 Diabetes: A Large Population-Based Prospective Study’, Diabetes Care, 44(3), pp. 672-680.
  15. Willett W.C., Sacks F., Tsichopoulou A., Drescher G., Ferro-Luzzi A., Helsing E. and Tsichopoulos D. (1995) ‘Mediterranean diet pyramid: a cultural model for healthy eating’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61(6), pp. 1402-1406.
  16. Panagiotakos D.B., Tzima N., Pitsavos C., Chrysochoou C., Zampelas A., Toussoulis D. and Stephanidis C. (2007) ‘The association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and fasting indices of glucose homeostasis: the ATTICA study’, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26, pp. 32-38.
  17. Panagiotakos D., Pitsavos C., Koloverou E., Chrysohoou C. and Stephanidis C.I. (2014) ‘Mediterranean diet and diabetes development: a meta-analysis of 12 studies and 140 001 individuals’,Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 63(12), pp. 1139-1144.
  18. Gong J., Fang K., Dong H., Wang D., Hu M. and Lu F. (2016) ‘Effect of fenugreek on hyperglycemia and hyperlipidaemia in diabetes and prediabetes: A meta- analysis’, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 194, pp. 260-268.
  19. Ranade M. and Mudgalkar N. (2018) ‘A simple dietary addition of fenugreek seed leads to the reduction in blood glucose levels: A parallel group randomized single-blind trial’, International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, 38(2), pp. 24-27.
  20. Attokaran M. (2017) ‘Ginger ‘, Natural Food Flavours and Colourants, 57, pp. 209-214.
  21. Arzati M.M., Honarvar N.M., Saedisomeolia A., Anvari S., Effatpanah M., Arzati R.M., Yekaninejad M.S., Hashemi R. and Djalali M. (2017) ‘The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, and Lipid Profiles in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes’, International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 15(4), pp. 1-7.
  22. Li Y, Tran VH, Duke CC, Roufogalis BD. (2012) ‘Gingerols of Zingiber officinale enhance glucose uptake by increasing cell surface GLUT4 in cultured L6 myotubes’, Planta Medica, 78(14), pp. 1549-1555

Contribution by Pavlina Konstantinou ANutr

Falafel, Sweet Potato, Lentil & Kale Salad

 

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2

  • Falafel, homemade or store-bought 
  • Hummus, homemade or store-bought 
  • 1 large sweet potato 
  • 125g Kale 
  • 150g cooked Black Lentils 
  • ½ red onion, diced 
  • A handful of Coriander, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • Salt and pepper 

For the dressing: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1tbsp mustard 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • ½ tsp ground cumin 
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD 

  1. Cut the sweet potato into cubes, coat with olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees C for 30-40 minutes until soft. 
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the ingredient for the dressing and use this to massage the kale for about 5 minutes until the kale becomes soft 
  3. And the cooked black lentils, red onion, coriander and sweet potato cubes and give it a good mix. 
  4. Serve with falafel and a big dollop of hummus

Homemade Hummus & Veggie Plate

Hummus with veggies is such a go-to snack and making your own hummus is easier (and tastier) than you think! 

INGREDIENTS

For hummus: 

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or 250g cooked chickpeas) 
  • 1 large lemon 
  • 3 tbsp tahini 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 4-5 tbsp water, depending on the consistency you like
  • Salt to taste 
  • Olive oil for serving 

Other ingredients: 

  • Carrots, sliced 
  • Cucumbers, sliced 
  • Peppers, sliced 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Crackers 
  • Anything else you like!

METHOD 

  1. Add the chickpeas and the garlic to a food processor and blend until the mixture is a smooth, powdery consistency 
  2. Next add the tahini, salt and lemon juice whilst the food processor is running. 
  3. Add in ice cold water gradually until your desired consistency is reached 
  4. Put it in a dish, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy with veggies, crackers or fluffy pita!

Coconut, Almond & Apricot Granola

Granola is the perfect addition to a yoghurt bowl or a smoothie, but it can often be really expensive. Making your own is much cheaper, more delicious and surprisingly easy!

INGREDIENTS

1 small batch 

  • 125g Rolled Oats 
  • 40g Almonds, chopped 
  • 45g Dried Apricot 
  • 35g Pumpkin Seeds
  • 15g Desiccated Coconut  
  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil 
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract 
  • Pinch of Salt

METHOD 

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C and line a baking tray 
  2. In a medium size bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients from the maple syrup to the pinch of salt 
  3. Add in the oats, chopped almonds, dried apricot, pumpkin seeds and desiccated coconut and mix well 
  4. Spread the mixture evenly onto the lined baking tray and press the granola down using a spoon or a spatula 
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes then give it a stir and press it down again 
  6. Bake for a further 15 minutes until the granola is golden in colour 
  7. Leave to cool completely before breaking it into clusters and transferring to an airtight jar or container

Feel free to double the recipe to make a larger batch.

Tempeh Summer Rolls with a Peanut Dip

The perfect light lunch or snack for the Summer when all you want is something cold, refreshing and crunchy! All the ingredients in these Summer Rolls can be substituted with whatever you like, for example, feel free to use tofu instead of tempeh.

INGREDIENTS

(serves 1)

For the tempeh marinade: 

  • 125g Tempeh 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • ½ lime 
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • Black pepper 

For the rolls:

  • 125g Marinaded Tempeh, cut into strips 
  • 4-5 Rice Paper Sheets (you can find these at any Asian supermarket) 
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced 
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced 
  • Bell pepper, thinly sliced 
  • Red cabbage, thinly sliced 
  • ½ avocado, sliced

For the peanut dip: 

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • 1 tsp maple syrup 
  • A squeeze of lime
  • Pinch of garlic powder (optional)

 

METHOD 

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the tempeh marinade in a dish or a container. 
  2. Make sure the tempeh is all covered in the marinade and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes whilst you prepare your vegetables.  
  3. For the dip, simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. 
  4. After 30 minutes, fry the tempeh over a medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil until it’s golden brown on both sides. 
  5. Leave the tempeh to cool down slightly before adding it to the rolls. 
  6. Wet your rice paper sheet, following the instructions on the packet (I find not soaking them for too long is key!) and place on a chopping board or large plate. 
  7. Add your veggies and tempeh to the centre of the rice paper sheet. Be careful not to use too much otherwise the roll might tear! 
  8. Start by carefully folding the bottom of the sheet over the filling and making sure it’s quite tight. Then, fold over the left side and the right side and begin to roll forward until it’s sealed. You don’t need to add any more water as the paper will naturally stick to itself. 
  9. Repeat with the rest of the sheets and serve with the peanut dipping sauce.

Shakshuka

The perfect brunch (or dinner) for when you fancy something savoury that comes together in less than 20 minutes.  

 

INGREDIENTS

(serves 2)

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste 
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 4 eggs 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Parsley, chopped 

METHOD 

  1. In a medium saucepan/skillet add the olive oil and saute the onions on a low heat for a few minutes before adding the crushed garlic. 
  2. Cook the garlic for another minute before adding in the harissa paste, spices and tinned tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  3. Let this simmer on a low heat for 5 or so minutes for the flavours to develop. 
  4. Make 4 wells in the tomato sauce around the edge of the pan and crack each egg into a well. 
  5. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook the eggs for about 5 minutes (or until the whites have just solidified). 
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley, more salt and pepper and it’s ready to serve. 
  7. Enjoy with crusty bread or warm fluffy pita and serve with a chopped salad and a drizzle of tahini.   

COCONUT, BLUEBERRY & PEANUT BUTTER OVERNIGHT OATS

Overnight oats are a fabulous breakfast to prep the night before so you have something nutritious to wake up to that requires simply opening the fridge! And these flavours are just divine…

Ingredients

  • 50g oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds 
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 250ml milk of choice (I used oat) 
  • 1 tbsp coconut yoghurt 
  • 1 tsp peanut butter 
  • A handful of frozen blueberries 

For toppings: 

  • Desiccated coconut 
  • Blueberry compote 
  • Sliced banana 
  • More peanut butter 

METHOD 

  1. Place the oats in a bowl or jar and mix with the chia seeds and cinnamon. 
  2. Add in the milk, yoghurt and peanut butter and mix together. 
  3. Add the frozen blueberries last, mix gently and cover in the fridge overnight. 
  4. When ready to eat, gently warm some frozen blueberries in the microwave for the topping. 
  5. Add this on top of your bowl alongside the peanut butter, sliced banana and desiccated coconut and enjoy!

Unpacking Diet Culture on TikTok

Trigger warning: This blog discusses eating disorders

TikTok has risen to fame since the lockdown began (it was downloaded 115 million times in March 2020), and the majority of us have been victim to the ‘just 10 minutes’ that turns into 2 hours of endless scrolling. Whilst TikTok can be a great source of entertainment and has led many of us to get up and dust off our dance moves, it’s important to be aware of its darker side. 

With so many users globally and endless bite-sized content, the platform lends itself to a rapid spread of whatever’s currently trending. This can be anything from catchy dance routines to videos that unwittingly glamorise eating disorders. The issue with TikTok videos in particular is that the more you watch, the smarter the algorithm becomes. So, if you watch one seemingly harmless ‘What I Eat In A Day’ video, you are then bombarded with those sorts of videos on your ‘For You’ page without you even looking for it. But if you are looking for it, it takes less than 30 seconds to type in ‘weight loss tips’ or ‘calorie counting’ before you’re flooded with tips on how to develop disordered eating habits from a multitude of unqualified people. 

What’s even more alarming is that there’s a lot of young eyes on TikTok, with the majority of TikTok users being aged 15-25. This generation is particularly vulnerable to the toxicity of social media because that’s where they’re going to get all of their news and information. Just from reading a few TikTok comments, it’s immediately apparent that there are many users on the app are desperate to lose weight and will do just about anything, including participating in dangerous and unfounded diet trends, in order to achieve that. It’s clear that the main demographic of TikTok already feels the societal pressures to achieve the ‘thin ideal’ but it seems that the app has exacerbated the problem by packaging up diet culture and delivering it in a new way. 

The Problem With ‘What I Eat In A Day’ Videos

As a society we have always been fascinated by what other people eat, whether it’s wondering what your favourite celebrity chows down on or what your best friend had for breakfast. This fascination is what birthed the concept of What I Eat In A Day (or WIEIAD) videos. These videos are not a new trend exclusive to TikTok. They have been popular amongst Youtubers for over a decade, however, the ease of making a TikTok has made these types of video more widespread and accessible than ever. At the time of writing, the #WhatIEatInADay hashtag on TikTok has 6.9 billion views. As the WIEIAD trend has had a second wave of going viral, you don’t even need to search for it in order for it to be shown on your For You page – and more often than not, these videos promote restrictive diets and/or very low calorie consumption. 

The allure of a girl in a thin body with abs showing us what she eats in a day within 30 seconds is almost too irresistible to scroll past, and young people certainly are lapping this up. These videos essentially scream ‘if you eat like me, you can look like me’. Of course, we know this isn’t true – even if everyone in the world kept the same diet and exercise regime, our bodies would still look different from each other – but if you are someone who is wrapped up in the world of disordered eating, it’s hard to not allow these videos to affect your own eating habits. 

There is another side to WIEAD videos, where ‘wellness influencers’ and the people who aspire to be them, show what a ‘normal day’ of eating looks like, but are these really helpful either? A lot of the time attempts to showcase a ‘healthier’ lifestyle can reveal traits of orthorexia (an extreme obsession with healthy eating) and can lead to harmful comparisons. For example, it encourages the rhetoric that we should feel guilty if we eat more than or differently to some random person on TikTok. These videos also fail to acknowledge that achieving ‘health’ is completely subjective. There are so many different ways to enjoy a balanced diet and we need to start questioning why it’s so important to know what other people are eating when we are all so individual. 

The Rise of Documenting Weight Loss Journeys

Another type of video rife on TikTok is people documenting their weight loss journeys. Whilst some people may find them a source of motivation, a lot of the time they inadvertently romanticise disordered eating habits. If you’ve gone from being in a larger body to a smaller one, suddenly you are idolised by thousands of users begging for advice, and this advice is not normally the healthy kind. Diet tips from eating under 1400 calories, to cutting out entire food groups to obsessively drinking water aren’t uncommon, and not to mention the bizarre ‘snack hacks’ that have gained huge popularity on the app. If you thought the cauliflower pizza trend back in 2015 was bad, wait until you realise people are using bell peppers as a bread replacement and eating bowls of fruit with ice and calling it cereal. 

To make matters worse, the creators promoting their weight loss and giving out unsolicited advice to thousands of young, impressionable people, will often come out a few months down the line and realise they actually had an eating disorder. All the warning signs and red flags are there from the start, but the damage is already done for anyone who watched those videos and implemented their ‘tips’ encouraging disordered eating habits. It’s in this fashion that TikTok can quickly become a breeding ground for developing eating disorders and an unhealthy relationship with food. 

Tips To Avoid Diet Culture on TIkTok

Over the years, social media has made it seem impossible to escape the claws of diet culture and TikTok has really amplified this problem. It’s unlikely that these types of videos are going anywhere anytime soon, despite TikTok attempting to ban triggering content, so the best thing you can do is take matters into your own hands. Next time you see a video pop on your For You page that smells of diet culture, just click ‘Not Interested’ in the bottom right corner and get on with your day.

Another way of curating your feed is to follow Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists who are qualified and back up their advice with science. Here are 5 anti-diet dietitians and nutritionists to follow on TikTok: 

  1. @stephgrassodietitian
  2. @nutritionbykylie
  3. @happystronghealthy.rd
  4. @thebalancednutritionist
  5. @findfoodfreedom

 

References & Resources 

Contribution by Sophie Gastman ANutr