If you’ve spent any time scrolling through TikTok, you’ve likely discovered #FoodTok. With viral videos of eye-catching tutorials for creative recipes, bizarre cure-alls and tempting challenges, foodie influencers can be super entertaining. But a social media platform isn’t always the best source of healthy eating advice.
So, which TikTok food trends are worth it and which should you skip? Here’s what RDs had to say about some of the most viral video topics.
PROTEIN COFFEE: SKIP IT
High-protein is in right now because the macronutrient can make you feel fuller longer for weight loss or weight maintenance and help build muscle to boost your metabolism. But does that mean you should pour protein powder into your coffee? “It’s definitely not necessary,” says Rachel Paul, PhD, RD, aka The College Nutritionist.
Rather than drinking “proffee,” Paul recommends boosting your protein intake with whole-food sources like eggs, canned tuna and ground turkey throughout the day. Also: If you typically add milk to your coffee, that’s a complete protein source already — and it won’t make your cup of joe taste like chalk.
PESTO EGGS: TRY IT
“Many people can get in a breakfast ‘rut’ and want something a little more upscale and exciting, which is why the easy pesto eggs recipe took off,” says Paul. The pros: Pesto eggs are healthy and delicious, she adds. Pesto contains filling fats from Parmesan, pine nuts and oil, plus nutrient-rich basil. And eggs are one of the best sources of protein, which helps keep you full until lunchtime.
To make them, swap your usual cooking oil for pesto, fry up 2–3 eggs, and enjoy them alone or with some toast, Paul suggests. Another option: Pour them into a mold for a batch of pesto egg bites.
GARLIC CLOVE SINUS CLEARER: SKIP IT
Many TikTok influencers have claimed that putting a clove of garlic inside your nostrils can clear your sinuses and get rid of a stuffy nose. However, there’s no proof garlic can clean out your nasal passages like a saline solution — and the natural oils in a clove are likely just irritating your nose even more.
“Instead, how about eating garlic in your food?” says Toby Amidor, RD, a registered dietitian and author of ”The Family Immunity Cookbook.” “Garlic has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties [when eaten!] and even small amounts of vitamins and minerals.” Reap the benefits with recipes like slow cooker garlic chicken, garlic lovers’ kale salad, and sauteed tuna steaks with garlic sauce.
LETTUCE TEA FOR SLEEP: SKIP IT
You’ve probably heard sipping chamomile tea can help promote relaxation for better sleep, but seeping romaine lettuce in hot water for zzz’s is something new thanks to TikTok. “The science stems from a study looking at the effects of an extract derived from romaine lettuce,” says Amidor. One compound called phenolics may play a role in preventing sleep disturbances.
But that doesn’t mean lettuce tea has special sleep-inducing properties. “It’s highly exaggerated to claim that seeping lettuce will act as a sleep aid,” says Amidor. For now, you’re better off with tried-and-true sleep health tricks like snoozing on a set schedule.
CHLOROPHYLL DROPS FOR EVERYTHING: SKIP IT
“Many TikTok influencers have been touting the benefits of added chlorophyll drops into water in order to stimulate the immune system, detox the blood, clean the intestines, deodorize sweat glands, energize the body, and prevent cancer,” says Amidor. The bad news: There’s no solid proof for any of the above.
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Although chlorophyll (or ‘chlorophyllin’ in supplement-form) has antioxidant properties and some research suggests it may help prevent cancer, more studies are needed, says Amidor. There are also potential side effects of chlorophyll drops like diarrhea and nausea, and you shouldn’t take them if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding since testing has yet to be done on pregnant people or new mothers. A simpler alternative? Fill your plate with natural sources of chlorophyll — like green veggies.
CLOUD BREAD: TRY IT
If you’re looking for a lower-carb “bread” due to a health condition like diabetes or you follow a gluten-free diet, cloud bread is a great alternative to the norm, says Samar Kullab, RD, a TikTok dietitian. It’s made by whipping eggs with cream of tartar and cream cheese then baking the batter for a brioche-like puff.
Just remember: If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting carbs isn’t necessary — it’s the quality of the carbs you eat that matters, says Kullab. Fill up with complex carbs from foods like fruits, veggies, beans and whole-grain products, and try out cloud bread by making these tasty lox sandwiches.
Make progress every day while you work on mini fitness and nutrition goals, like walking more steps or learning to track macros. Go to “Plans” in the MyFitnessPal app for daily coaching and easy-to-follow tasks to keep you motivated.