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Our gen­er­ation has an obsession with pic­tures of food/ Courtesy 

As I picked up my fork to dig into my food, my friend grabbed her phone.

“Wait, let me take a picture.”

I rolled my eyes and placed my fork down while she took a few pic­tures of our per­fectly-plated entrees.

A few hours later, she posted the picture on her Instagram story.

Par­tic­i­pating in mil­len­nials’ social-media obsession with images of food without regard to how it con­tributes to problems of body image and even eating dis­orders is one of the biggest problems in our gen­er­ation. By lim­iting the number of food photos on the internet, we can create a healthier atmos­phere sur­rounding food and diet expec­ta­tions.

In today’s culture, being fit is “in.” Pur­chasing the highest quality foods at the finest grocery stores and high-end gym mem­ber­shipd both equate a status of wealth with health.

Eve Turow is the author of “A Taste of Gen­er­ation Yum: How the Mil­lennial Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs, and Micro­brews Will Make or Break the Future of Food.” She claims mil­len­nials think about food more than anyone else in history has – ever. Turow sug­gests people post pic­tures of their food in order to show off.

“There’s a com­modity fetishism around organic kale at this point because we’re using it as an iden­tifier,” Turow told the Atlantic. “We’re using it as a signal of edu­cation, of knowledge, of income.”

What I didn’t mention at the beginning was that my friend had wanted to order the french toast, but seeing the avocado toast on the menu, and knowing how popular avocado toast is online these days, had chosen to order that instead. The influence of social media had infil­trated her mind so deeply as to affect her food order. And it wasn’t that the avocado toast was a healthier option, it was that she did it for the picture, not for the food.

The problem isn’t so much that we show off by posting pic­tures of our food, but that we let social media control our food choices by crit­i­cally exam­ining our choices of food, compare them to those of others, and then basing our body image off our con­clusion of that com­parison.

Take fad diets. The Uni­versity of Pitts­burgh Medical Center defines a fad diet as a diet that helps people lose weight quickly without exercise. Sounds like an easy fix, but these diets often fail to offer a bal­anced approach to weight loss. Diets such as liquid diets, high-protein diets, or single-food diets cut out important keys of nutrition, therefore leading to inability to maintain weight loss and increased risk of chronic dis­eases such as heart disease, cancer, and high-blood pressure, according to the UPMC.

One popular Instagram fad diet is FitTea. This 14-day detox tea blend promises to help drinkers increase energy and lose weight, with a money-back guar­antee. Celebrities from the Kar­dashians and Vanessa Hudgens to David Henrie have pro­moted the drink on their Instagram accounts. Yet, while a tea detox might offer initial results for con­sumers, the health ben­efits don’t last.

Crystal Karges is a reg­is­tered dietitian nutri­tionist with a spe­cial­ization in nutrition coun­seling for eating dis­orders, she, along with Jacquelyn Ekern, a licensed coun­selor and founder and pres­ident of Eating Dis­order Hope and Addiction Hope, co-authored an article titled, “Diet Fads and Eating Dis­orders.” They claim that buying into diet fads can lead to eating dis­orders.

“What may begin as a seem­ingly harmless attempt for losing a few pounds or getting ‘healthier’ can quickly escalate to an all-con­suming eating dis­order, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating dis­orders,” the article said.

One problem the article directly points to as a leading sign to an eating dis­order is when body image becomes an obsession. Social media feeds this obsession.

There’s nothing wrong with posting a few pic­tures of food on social media. It becomes dan­gerous, however, when it becomes an obsession, when a person’s focus solely sur­rounds both food and diet.

Next time, pick up your fork and not your phone. It might not last longer, but it’ll taste better.

Josephine von Dohlen is a junior majoring in American studies.

  • Jedediah Boudreaux

    I reckon Luanne picks up the fork enough for the two of us.