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Food Fear-Mongering on TikTok: The Toxic Trend That's Doing More Harm Than Good

It seems like every other day, there's a new TikTok trend demonizing a food or ingredient that has been a staple in our diets for years. Suddenly, people are afraid to eat things like gluten, dairy, or sugar because someone on the internet told them it was going to kill them. But the truth is, these fear-mongering tactics are not only unnecessary, but they're also dangerous.


Let's start with the basics. The dose makes the poison. Almost anything can be harmful in excessive amounts, even water. The chemicals that people are so quick to demonize are often harmless in the quantities found in food. It's only when these chemicals are isolated and consumed in massive quantities that they become dangerous.


And yet, we have TikTok users warning us about the dangers of things like monosodium glutamate (MSG) or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as if we're going to drop dead from eating a bag of chips. The reality is that these chemicals are present in many foods we eat every day, and in the quantities we consume them, they're perfectly safe.


But fear-mongering tactics have convinced people that they need to avoid these "dangerous" ingredients, often at the expense of their health. For example, people who are convinced they have a gluten sensitivity may avoid foods like bread, pasta, and cereal, even if they're not actually sensitive to gluten. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies and an unbalanced diet.


And let's not forget the cost. Many of the foods that TikTok users suggest as alternatives to "dangerous" ingredients are expensive and not accessible to everyone. Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, or dairy-free products can cost two to three times as much as their conventional counterparts. This means that people who can't afford these products are left feeling guilty or fearful for eating the foods that they can afford.


Furthermore, many of these TikTok users are not qualified or educated enough to understand the points they're trying to make. Just because someone has a platform and a large following doesn't mean they're an expert on nutrition. In fact, many of these fear-mongering tactics are based on anecdotal evidence or misinformation.


It's time to stop demonizing perfectly fine foods and start focusing on a balanced, varied diet. Instead of fearing certain ingredients, we should focus on consuming them in moderation and in the context of a healthy diet. And we should also hold TikTok users accountable for the information they're spreading. Just because something is popular on social media doesn't mean it's accurate or beneficial. It's up to us to do our own research and make informed decisions about what we eat.




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