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Food Bloggers… Good or Bad?

I want to start off by saying that I heart food bloggers πŸ™‚ Heck, I’m a food blogger! I like to keep things happy. I like to write about fun recipes, healthy eating, being a mom, and taking cute pictures of my kid. When I read this article earlier today, I knew I had to write about it.

If you’re a food blogger and haven’t heard about the Marie Claire article yet… please read it.

To say the Healthy Living Blog community was rocked today is an understatement.

Basically, the article discusses the relevant issue of the possible influence that these popular blogs may have on their readers. Could these blogs be steering readers towards a lifestyle of unhealthy eating and excessive exercising?

I have been blogging at Weekly Bite for just over a year now and I have been reading blogs for a little over three years. When I first started seeing bloggers take pictures and track what they eat, as an R.D. I was a little alarmed. The first thing that popped in my head was that it could attract readers with some type of disordered eating. In fact, I even remember having clients who wanted to start a blog as a way to be held accountable for what they ate.

I understand the author’s point about these bloggers not having formal nutrition education (Except for Kath – congrats on your R.D. !!), but… I must ask; is it incumbent upon the blogger to state that they are not giving professional nutritional advice? (All six of the bloggers mentioned in the article have disclaimers posted on their sites) Or, is it the reader’s responsibility to know what they are reading and who the author is?

I may also have a very different point of view, I am 10 yrs older than most of these bloggers and have worked professionally as an R.D. since 2000. I am the mother of a beautiful 16 month old daughter who mimics my every move, and I know how crucial it is to remember how influential we are on our children.

Having said that… I’m going to focus on the positive. I’m a regular reader of all of these blogs and will continue to be. I love the fact that “The Big Six” practice an intuitive approach to eating and that they promote regular exercise. They offer healthy eating alternatives, great product recommendations, and some fun menu ideas.

The reality is that a reader can choose what they want and don’t want to read. Just because a blogger is training for a marathon does not pressure me into doing the same. But… I’m also 34 years old. If I was 22 years old, maybe I would feel different… who knows…

Remember… all bloggers have a point of view and agenda… as do all magazine articles.

What did you think about the article?

Do you think the article’s author “Cherry-picked” these blogs to focus on the negative while leaving out the positive aspects they may provide?

Do you believe everything you read in blogs?

14 Responses

  1. kat said on October 3, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I think the article is ridiculous. We just can’t win can we? We are either being shoved to eat better and exercise more or we are being told we are bad influences for our healthy lifestyle. Where’s the healthy models in that mag anyway? I used to get marie and they never had articles focusing on creating a healthy body. They may have had articles about how to lose weight or how to get a flat stomach, but there was no influence on health at all. If your a fashion mag, stick to fashion. Leave the healthy living tips to the fine women and men in the blogging field!!

  2. Mia said on October 4, 2010 at 1:29 am

    The article seemed like a bunch of hot air to me. As with anything you read, you should always be critical of the information…especially the media. I mean, come on, we are talking Marie Claire magazine. The media also tends to leave out a lot of important information. Take a look back over the years about the coverage of the war or anything going on overseas. The media told us what THEY wanted us to hear. The media thrives on the negative. They think, “oh wow, you’re successful…well we can’t have that now can we?” I personally believe that they are trying to jab at these blogs and the blog world to see what kind of reaction that they will get back in return. It is important for the six blogs mentioned, as with anyone else who blogs, to remember to live their daily lives and continue whatever is the norm for themselves. It’s called the freedom of speech. Not only that but if you don’t like what you read, DON’T READ IT! If it is a “trigger” than learn to avoid it. It is all YOUR choice and no one else. I will continue to read the blogs mentioned plus others that I read daily simply because I CHOOSE to and I ENJOY it. For me, it’s just leisurely reading with a chance to “peak” into another life.

  3. lynn @ the actors diet said on October 4, 2010 at 2:08 am

    wow. i had no idea about that article – thanks for sharing it. i too am much older than most of these women so i’m not sure how the me in my mid-twenties would’ve taken things. but that is also when my eating disorder was at its worst – i discovered kath’s blog three years ago, and it helped me recover by showing me “normal” portion sizes and how to eat according to my hunger and cravings.

  4. sophia said on October 4, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Here’s my honest opinion:

    When I was eating disordered, I was unusually drawn towards these “healthy living” blogs. I’m not talking about the Big Six. I’m talking about the many, many blogs out there who try to imitate these Big Six, but unfortunately fail miserably because THEY are disordered. I don’t think the article was right to pinpoint on these six blogger, but the overall message it was trying to convey has solid truth in it.

    The truth is: Many readers DON’T have the mental stability to separate themselves from these blogs. They only see things they want to see, which is to fuel or aggravate their disordered behaviors and eating. Most of these readers ALREADY have eating disordered tendencies. So we can’t really blame the “big 6” because they can’t help who reads their blog, and who takes things out of context from their lifestyle.

    but. It IS a problem, and a very serious, dangerous one at that. I just wish the writer focused more on this area, instead of bashing the “big 6”. It’s so distracting from the more crucial matter in this issue.

  5. Nicole, RD said on October 4, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Thanks for linking to that article…just read it. Honestly, I think it has a lot of good and bad points. As an RD, I also find it alarming to read of these high-intensity workouts that are followed by a bowl of greens. Besides, it’s exhausting to update a blog once a day with 1-2 photos, much less 3+ times a day with every morsel you consume photographed and posted for the world to see. Talk about being under the microscope. And those girls can’t win…if they eat too much, too little, the “right” or the “wrong” things…someone, somewhere, will give them a hard time with some harassing email or comment. Sad, really. I think maintaining good body image is hard, but I think it would be too much to have all of my intake displayed for the world and have people comment on it all day long. And as a reader, it bores me. I would be surprised if a few of those girls weren’t dabbling in disordered eating…there’s definitely a lot of red flags, but who knows. Very interesting article!

  6. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) said on October 4, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Wow, I am pretty sure we can all go on for hours about this subject. I am with you, I am in the older crowd. So, to hear things like “the big 6” seems awfully high school to me. I think companies use these people due to their large readership and they know exactly what is going on. I read some of those blogs and there are times when I question the sensibility of what they are doing too. I do think it is disorderly eating if you have to sabotage something in order to not eat it. And while I never had plans to run a marathon, I know it is a popular thing to do now. I think showing and writing about training for marathons is a interesting. I like people sharing different takes on food and fitness because it gives you different ideas on things to try out, but you have to know what you are reading and you have to be careful with how you use the information. I don’t know if I would feel differently if I was much younger though and way more impressionable.

    One more thing, I am definitely an everything in moderation person. I have young children that I want to feel like they are not deprived and even though they are boys, I want them to know how to incorporate different things into a healthy lifestyle. While reading a few of those blogs, I question how they can eat that way and stay in a healthy weight…

    Thanks for sharing Estela…definitely food for thought!

  7. Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries said on October 4, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I understand the point the article is trying to make, but I think it’s overdramatic. I don’t think bloggers should have to be responsible for the acts of their readers. I hate to sound harsh, but if someone suffers from disordered eating and uses food blogs as a way to feed that disease, I don’t think it’s the blogger’s fault. I have received the opposite feedback – emails and comments from women telling me that they are inspired by how I eat and have started to make little changes, such as packing a lunch. I do think bloggers have some sort of responsibility, however, to encourage readers to do what works for them and to truly practice what they preach. At this point, I think you know my attitude towards wellness. I’m having pizza and beer for dinner tonight and make no apologies! Plan to talk about it on the blog, too!

  8. Allison said on October 4, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I have two reactions to that article. The first is that the author had years of daily documentation of eating and exercising to choose from when looking for examples to support her claims. Even the healthiest of people aren’t perfect. I am sure she could have found examples of almost anything.

    The second is that there is some truth to what she says. Some of the bloggers are healthier than others. Anyone who has read Kath’s blog from the beginning has defintely seen an evolution. My reaction to some of the less healthy behaviors is “they are still young”. I don’t know what my reaction would have been when I was in my 20s and with more disordered tendencies.

  9. Chicago Cuisine Critique said on October 4, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Wow! I just read the article and I honestly am shocked. To me blogging is a creative outlet where anyone should be able to write about anything they’d like. If healthy living is what they choose to write about that is their decision and one to which readers should realize that these particular bloggers daily meals and exercise routines are not suitable for everyone. I don’t think it is fair to accuse them that what they are doing is wrong and that they may be “hurting” others by writing about what they wish. This article definitely failed to mention the positives of what these bloggers do provide their readers. Maybe it’s motivation, maybe it’s new food ideas? Whatever the case I don’t think it is fair for Marie Claire to publish an article that is basically throwing them under the bus.. I guess this is a topic I could go on and on about but those are my thoughts. Thanks for sharing this, I had no idea it was out there.

  10. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said on October 4, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Estela, I honestly think you have the written the BEST response to this article.

  11. emily (a nutritionist eats) said on October 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Food blogging is a very interesting thing. I think that there are a lot of blogs out there that are not good examples of healthy living, but not necessarily the ones that were mentioned in the article. I understand the concept of tracking daily eats/workouts but it is also something that I did when I wasn’t necessarily being very healthy – one of the reasons I don’t document everything I eat on my blog – not to mention it would be pretty boring to see the same toast every morning! πŸ™‚ I also found it very interesting that a magazine like that who probably doesn’t do a good job of being a healthy living example was so critical.

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    Is this possible?

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