Nutritionists rate #FoodTok’s biggest trends

TikTok is the place to go when you want to show off your easy, delicious, and sometimes weird homemade recipes (looking at you, "Girls Dinner"). Users are going viral for incorporating raw vegetables, homemade yogurt, and vegetable-soaking water into their daily routines, but when it comes to getting actual nutrition advice from the app's foodie community, you should take everything with a grain of salt. So, are the supposed benefits of these snacks all a misunderstanding? Maybe, which is why a nutritionist spoke with Bustle to weigh in on #FoodTok's biggest trends. Spoiler alert: You may not want to believe everything you read on the Internet. If true, it would be huge.

From raw carrot salad to gelatin water, meals going viral on TikTok with positive results are nothing new. But with so many trends floating around the five-year plan, it’s hard to know which are worth the hype and which don’t live up to their promises. Abbey Sharp (@abbeyskitchen) is a registered dietitian who has built her following on TikTok by busting health myths and taking a stance against diet culture. Here, Sharp shares her unique take on all things #FoodTok, touching on three viral trends circulating on the app.

Mustard and cheese plate

The mustard and cheese snack combo has been a hit at FYP lately, thanks to @tiffanyymagee who paired the ingredients with a bunch of different easy-to-find items in June, like carrots, chicken sausage, pickled okra, and asparagus. 16 videos. As of July 13, the hashtag #cottagecheeseandmustard has been viewed 24.4 million times, and sales of both products have increased by more than 90% in two weeks, according to Instacart. The proof of its popularity is in the pudding – er, cheese? Although the creators didn't explicitly mention any health benefits in their initial post, the video sparked a broader discussion about whether eating raw vegetables is a good idea.

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Sharp warns that foodies "new to the veggie snack plate trend" shouldn't eat raw vegetables right away because they may be harder to digest or be higher in "FODMAPS" (fermentable carbohydrates that can cause gas and bloating). Don't let that completely stop you from eating this dish, though. Instead, experts recommend easing into it by "mixing cooked and raw vegetables until your gut can adjust to the extra fiber."

As for other tweaks you can make to the recipe, Sharp shares that you can also add healthy fats like nuts, olives, or avocados to balance the protein from the cheese and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. If you're not a fan of cottage cheese or mustard, RD recommends swapping out the ingredients for Greek yogurt sauce and adding herbs, spices, or even a ranch dressing seasoning packet. Um!

Strawberry Yogurt Bites

The world-famous strawberry yogurt can be made with just three ingredients: strawberries, yogurt and chocolate. While it's unclear who started this delicious trend, the related hashtag has been viewed more than 78 million times on TikTok, so there's no denying the dessert's popularity.

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If you've been eagerly waiting for the perfect time to try this recipe, you're in luck, because it's totally Sharp-approved. "I love this recipe idea!" says the nutritionist. "I think this is a really fun way to complement the chocolate while also getting a lot of fiber (from the berries) and protein (from the Greek yogurt). It's a refreshing summer dessert that's so comforting." If I If you’ve heard of it, this is a winning food combination.

In addition, experts say that because Greek yogurt is a fermented food, it not only has probiotic effects, but also contains calcium, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc. To further boost the dessert's nutritional value, Sharp recommends adding chopped nuts to the yogurt "for healthy fats and crunch."

Lettuce water

Despite its unappealing name, the lettuce water trend took off in the five-year plan after @callmebelly shared a theory that drinking boiled romaine lettuce water might make you "drowsy" .

"The hot water will cause the lettuce to release something," the creator said uncertainly, before reporting that their eyes felt heavy 20 minutes after drinking the concoction. "I usually go to bed at 3-4am and this is crazy," the TikToker wrote in the caption.

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Although the creator claimed at the end of the video that the hack worked, Sharp was skeptical. “People are always looking for quick solutions to health problems,” she comments.

That being said, this theory didn't come out of nowhere. The nutritionist explains that initial experiments were conducted on mice and contained a "highly concentrated extract that was more effective than any amount of soaked lettuce leaves". In other words: if it works for you, it's probably a placebo.

As an insomniac himself, Sharp understands why someone would want to try this technique. But if you want a truly good night's sleep, experts recommend switching to foods that support good sleep through their "unique nutritional profile," such as turkey, chamomile tea, kiwi and tart cherry juice.


Abbey Sharp, registered dietitian and content creator