It was always only a matter of time, but now science has finally managed to prove that not all ‘influencers’ and ‘health coaches’ should be taken at face value, when it comes to weight-loss advice. According to a new study from the University of Glasgow, just one out of nine ‘health and weight-loss bloggers and influencers,’ are actually credible, when it comes to science-backed advice. Or to put that another way, eight out of nine are not credible… and it’s about time the hard truths were revealed, as shocking as it may be. To jog your memory, there have been a few health influencers who have made some pretty bold claims in recent years.
First there was ‘Freelee the banana girl’ a vegan vlogger who rose to fame for her controversial 51 bananas a day diet, then Belle Gibson who ‘healed her brain cancer’ with a wholefood diet (and pocketed over $400K after she built an app about it) which was later exposed as a complete lie.
And of course, let’s not forget Pete Evan’s health promoting claims from ‘camels milk’ and ‘bone broth’ in place of breast milk to direct ‘sun gazing’ for optimal medicinal benefits. While Instagram has become an amazing haven for accessing health and wellness trends and is the place where we not only spend most of our day but look to for free fitspiration, weight loss secrets, clean eat recipes and wellness tips, it doesn’t mean all our fave accounts are healthy and respected sources we can trust in—no matter how many followers they have. In fact, the study managed to prove just how much numbers have no direct impact on their credibility. To prove this, the researchers looked at a set criterion including—influencers who had 80,000+ followers, a blue tick verification or had more social media platforms and an active weight management blog.
They then thoroughly reviewed their content, noting if they backed their diet advice or meal plans with credibility factors like—bias, adherence to nutritional criteria, transparency in terms of being forthcoming about where their information came from. The end result of course being only one out of the nine passed the test as credible. But, in addition, only three of nine provided recipes that fit within the ‘health calorie’ goals governed by the UK, and 50 per cent were found to be making claims or stating opinions as fact without providing any evidence-based references. And unsurprisingly, the one influencer deemed credible was in fact a registered nutritionist with a degree. The moral of the story? When it comes to weight-loss, fitness and health advice, filter your feed the way you would your images—to be only of high quality, respectable and highly authentic content.
And when in doubt—trust your gut and look beyond the ticks and stats and check out their site for a more detailed, accredited bio. For a hit of fresh inspo, here’s a list of weight loss and wellness influencers we’ve carefully curated that are worth a follow: 1. Marika Day, ‘Evidence based and BS-Free’ Dietitian and Nutritionist—@marikaday 2. Chloe McLeod, Advanced Sports Dietitian—@chloe_mcleod_dietitian 3. Jessica Sepel, Nutritionist—@jshealth 4. Liv Kaplan, Nutritionist—@livinbondi 5. Zoe Bingley-Pullin, Nutritionist—@zoebingleypullin 6. Rachel Paul, Nutritionist—@collegenutritionist 7. Kelly LeVeque, Nutritionist—@bewellbykelly 8. Wendy & Jess, Dietitians—@foodheaven