Can You Blame Social Media for Your Weight Gain?

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro August 31, 2012
  • The new social media site Pinterest is coming under scrutiny for wrecking diets and causing increased calorie intake. Why? All those delicious pictures of sweet desserts!

     

    As the third most popular social media platform, Pinterest now has more than 20 million users with a majority being women.

     

    When users “pin” their favorite recipes the recipes tend to lean towards the unhealthy high calorie choices.

     

    Red Velvet Cake

    Chicken Taco Chili

    Oreo Layer Dessert

    Strawberries and Cream Dessert Squares

    Gnocchi, Sweet Corn, & Arugula in Cream Sauce

    Pumpkin Spice Donuts

    Tin Roof Ice Cream Cake

     

    And the list goes on. . .

     

    All sounds delicious, right? On the negative side, the recipes tend to be high in added sugars, saturated fat, and calories.

     

    Why am I writing about Pinterest?

     

    If you are someone that loves trying new recipes, Pinterest may be a great resource. You not only get the recipe you also get a picture of the finished product. There are many delicious and new recipe choices from all over the world.

     

    However, just like reading food labels when shopping you have to be savvy about selecting healthy recipes. . . particularly if you are working to lower cholesterol or high blood pressure to reduce your heart disease risk. The recipes on Pinterest don’t necessarily come with a nutrition analysis so you can see what is considered a portion size, how many calories you consume per serving, how much saturated fat, how much sodium, etc.

     

    You need to scan the ingredients and get an idea yourself on whether or not this is a healthy choice based on your diet goals.

     

    How do you select a healthy recipe?

     

    Start by looking for healthy ingredients. Healthy ingredients would include whole fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, nuts, legumes, whole grains, lean meat cuts, and low fat dairy.

     

    Avoid recipes with a large amount of less healthy ingredients, such as sugar, processed foods (i.e. Oreos), saturated fat, and refined grains (i.e. white flour).

     

    Make sure the balance is a large portion of healthy ingredients with a smaller portion of unhealthy salts/sugars/fats. If it’s an apple or two mixed with a bunch of all-purpose flour, sugar, and shortening. . .not necessarily a good balance.

     

    Also review how the recipe is cooked. Is it grilled, baked, broiled, or sautéed? If so, they are all good options. Avoid the recipes that call for deep fat frying or pan frying.

     

    Keep in mind you can always alter recipes and make your favorite recipes heart healthy. If it calls for all-purpose flour, you can experiment with whole wheat flour. If it calls for sour cream you can substitute low fat yogurt.

     

    Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can find new recipes to try, shift the ingredients to more healthy options, and still retain the flavor.

     

    If nothing else, just be aware the images on Pinterest are potentially causing weight gain for some. If you’re easily tempted by a sweet new recipe, use your time on this social media site wisely!

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    We shouldn’t be spending that much time in front of the computer screen anyway. Get up and get moving!

     

    Are you struggling to make heart healthy changes “stick”? Falling on and off the diet wagon? If so, go to http://hearthealthmadeeasy.com to get the free report How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Lifelong Habits.