Mukbang: The rise of food videos and why dieters are worried

 Mukbang: The rise of food videos and why dieters are worried

A picture alongside popular Kenyan TikTok food creators Boina and Kabuda.

If you use YouTube or TikTok, you may have seen a category of videos called “Mukbang,” which is a combination of the Korean terms for “broadcast” and “eat.”

Mukbang, as the name suggests, involves witnessing a lone guest consuming a substantial amount of food.

While the trend is making influencers and bingers rich, health experts warn that the videos are spreading an alarmingly wrong message about health.

Nutritionist Dr. Easther Ateka says it’s foolhardy to think that the implications of unhealthy eating habits won’t catch up with you.

Why would anyone think they can get away with eating exorbitant amounts without being caught up? “Unfortunately, these videos encourage overconsumption but avoid addressing the potential consequences of emotional eating, upset stomach, binge eating disorder and chronic disease,” she explained.

These trendy food shows have content creators sharing videos of themselves eating mostly greasy junk food sometimes for over an hour.

The nutritionist notes that watching videos like this on a regular basis can negatively affect your attitude toward food, especially if you have an eating disorder or an already strained connection to nutrition.

While videos can still capture the interest of people on the go, cases of eating disorders are higher than ever, especially among teenagers and young adults. Watching mukbang could also negatively affect people on the other side of the disordered eating spectrum, those who engage in emotional eating and those who have a tendency to undereat, as is the case with anorexia, she said.

According to her, it is very good to enjoy food and even watch others eat. However, nutritionists claim that mukbang alters a perfectly natural pleasure into something that can be harmful.

“Mukbang videos show viewers audiovisual images of people eating food in quantities normally associated with binge eating,” Dr. Ateka, who treats eating disorders, told Citizen Digital.

People with or with eating disorders can be affected by the normalization of these behaviors because they can be seen as appropriate forms of consumption.”

Dr. Ateka adds that the unrealistic portions attached to Mukbang content creators who are sitting there every day consuming all kinds of unhealthy portions is dangerous and considers it a dangerous form of entertainment for the people who enjoy such content .

As much as viewers are cautious when consuming this type of content, Mukbang content creators should exercise caution. Eating such large portions repeatedly is potentially problematic and will have implications such as obesity and binge eating habits and chronic disease, he said.

He also warned that the pressure to maintain their persona and gain fans can have a huge negative impact on the mental health of content creators.

It’s imperative that online spaces are much more sensitive because it can be quite upsetting for those who have a history of eating disorders or who are now struggling with eating disorders,” she said.

Perhaps some of the most famous Kenyan TikTokers who have amassed a large following due to this type of content are Boina and Kabuda.

The two have posted numerous videos of themselves eating large amounts of food in one sitting, winning them a huge fan base and landing them lucrative endorsement deals in the process.

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