Skip Or Try These 5 Nutrition TikTok Trends, According To A Registered Dietitian – Forbes

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As a mom of three kids who all use the social media app TikTok, and as a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’ve seen my fair share of nutrition misinformation dispersed across the video sharing platform. I worry about my kids, especially my two high school daughters, seeing all that unfounded diet and nutrition advice—and the potential impact it could have on their health.
That’s why, as an expert in the nutrition space, I’m separating fact from fiction on some of the top TikTok trends I’ve seen circulating on the platform. Here’s what you need to know.
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What’s the trend? Oi kimchi, or cucumber kimchi, is the latest Korean food trend to take over TikTok. Influencer @myhealthydish showcases how to make the dish in less than 30 minutes using Persian cucumbers, salt, minced garlic, onion, green onions and gochugaru, which is coarsely ground Korean chili powder similar to crushed red pepper flakes. The TikTokker recommends eating the side dish with rice and grilled meat.
The truth behind the trend: TikTok is a great way to experience exposure to various cultural dishes, like this Korean one, and may inspire you to take a trip to your local Asian market for new ingredients, like gochugaru. There are no crazy nutrition or dietary claims that are made about this dish, which is quite refreshing.
Try or skip? Definitely try! It’s nice to see culturally diverse food and nutrition trends hitting TikTok. This is certainly a fun one to try.
What’s the trend? DIY ginger shots are a hot trend on TikTok, with influencers making their own homemade elixirs. Recipes on the platform recommend pureeing fresh ginger with coconut water and straining the juice, adding lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Videos feature influencers pouring the mixture into shot glasses, claiming it’s good for gut health and recommending taking it in the morning.
The truth behind the trend: Instead of buying pricey shots or juices that claim to benefit gut health, this DIY version can certainly save you money. It also uses whole foods as opposed to additives or preservatives. The downside is that it’s not an all-out miracle for gut health. According to the Natural Medicines database, there’s insufficient evidence that ginger helps with constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Ginger on its own, though, does have health benefits, including helping alleviate pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting, helping reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis and helping reduce pain and cramps during menstruation.
Try or skip? If you’d like to give it a try—go ahead! It may not taste great, but it’s better than purchasing expensive store bought versions. It likely will not do what many TikTokkers promise, but it also shouldn’t harm you (as long as you keep the cayenne pepper at bay– too much may lead to an upset stomach in some folks). If you do have gut issues, I recommend seeing your medical doctor or RDN.
What’s the trend? This trend consists of adding lemon juice to your morning cup of Joe and consuming it on an empty stomach. The promise here, according to TikTok, is weight loss.
The truth behind the trend: As much as folks would like an easy answer to weight loss, adding lemon juice to your coffee isn’t it. Although lemon juice is low in calories, and provides plenty of the antioxidant vitamin C, there is not enough scientific evidence that it will result in weight loss, either alone or combined with coffee. One 2008 study might have made some TikTokkers to jump to this conclusion—but the study was done on mice fed lemon polyphenol extract (not lemon juice), and while it showed that that it suppressed body weight gain and body fat accumulation, more research needs to be done on humans, making this TikTok trend and its health claims a stretch[1].
Try or skip? If you’d like to add lemon juice to your coffee (and think it tastes good) then go for it, however, you will not lose weight by doing so.
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What’s the trend? This trend hits close to home—my teenage daughter came home from varsity volleyball practice asking if I could buy her a Celsius energy drink after her interest was piqued from its popularity on TikTok. The Celsius energy drink has become popular in high school, college and among adult athletes, as the company claims that it provides essential energy, accelerates metabolism and helps burn body fat.
The truth behind the trend: Research suggests that energy drinks can be harmful—one 2019 study found that energy drinks can raise blood pressure, and others have linked their consumption to headaches, stomachaches, hyperactivity and insomnia[2][3].
Celsius and other energy drinks contain several stimulants, including caffeine and guarana extract. Guarana is a compound with roughly four times more caffeine than coffee beans. Excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to increased anxiety, insomnia, heart problems and an upset stomach—and while Celsius Heat has 300 milligrams of caffeine (and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests 400 milligrams is safe to consume), this would almost max you out for caffeine intake for the day. Celsius also contains taurine, which is used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, however, there is little to no research on the safety of taurine when taken in high doses or for longer periods of time.
Try or skip? Skip this one. There are much better ways to get energy then by adding lots of caffeine and other, non-scientifically sound ingredients to your workout regimen. Water tends to be your best bet when exercising moderately, and if you do need extra electrolytes or fluids, usually if you’re exercising over an hour or if the weather is very hot, I recommend coconut water or Gatorade.
What’s the trend? This popular trend has you taking a pre-workout powder on its own without mixing it with a liquid in order to perform better.
The truth behind the trend: A 2018 study found that some folks may benefit from using a pre-workout supplement, as it may have an impact on muscle endurance and subjective mood[4]. However, the study notes more information is needed to assess the safety and efficacy of long-term use.
In addition, taking your pre-workout supplement without liquid does not improve the action of the supplement, and may even inhibit some of its effects, as you need to stay hydrated when exercising, and taking the powder with fluids helps keep you hydrated. Proper hydration is needed in order to perform your best during exercise.
Try or skip? Skip it. If you choose to take a pre-workout supplement, consume it according to the package directions, and mix it with liquids.
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Toby Amidor is a registered dietitian, nutrition expert, food safety consultant, instructor, speaker and author in New York City. Through Toby Amidor Nutrition, PC, she provides nutrition and food safety consulting services for individuals, restaurants and food brands. For over 12 years, Amidor has served as a nutrition expert for and is a founding contributor to the website’s Healthy Eats blog. She has also written Today’s Dietitian magazine’s “Ask the Expert” column for the past eight years. She is an adjunct professor at CUNY Hunter School of Public Urban Health in New York City where she teaches food service management. Amidor is also the author of eight cookbooks, one of which is a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
Sarah is an experienced writer and editor enthusiastic about helping readers live their healthiest and happiest lives. Before joining Forbes Health, Sarah worked as a writer for various digital publications including LendingTree, theSkimm, CNBC and Bankrate. When she isn’t writing or editing, you can find Sarah with her nose in a book or enjoying the outdoors with her French bulldog, Honey.


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