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TikTok’s Latest “Gut Health” Trend Has Doctors and Dietitians Concerned

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Over the past few months, you may have noticed the phrase “gut health” constantly appearing all over your TikTok feed. From the “it girls” to the fitness influencers, almost everyone with a platform has had something to say about gut health. But what exactly is it and why is this trend becoming a concern for doctors, dietitians and nutritionists alike?

Gut health is a rather new medical term that has quickly gained popularity over the past several years according to the National Library of Medicine. In this online journal, Stephan Bischoff states, “Herein a positive definition of ‘gut health’ is proposed in accordance with the WHO definition of health: ‘Gut health is a state of physical and mental well-being in the absence of gastrointestinal complaints that require the consultation of a doctor, in the absence of indications or risks of bowel disease, and in the absence of confirmed bowel disease.’” Essentially, gut health is a gastrointestinal tract free of disease. Giving this medical issue attention seems like a step in the right direction, but it has been severely lacking. Many medical professionals are concerned that inaccurate information has taken over the narrative.

On TikTok, this trend took off with influencers preaching diet and lifestyle changes that will improve your gut health while also reducing bloating and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory diet that influencers are promoting in itself is not harmful. In fact, the Mayo Clinic gave this diet a stamp of approval. However, like most things on the internet, the fad has quickly turned into something entirely different. Now, many have transformed this gut-healthy anti-inflammatory diet into a highly restrictive form of eating. To combat these toxic behaviors, medical professionals have begun using their TikTok platforms to shut down these extreme practices. Dietitian Abbey Sharp is one of the professionals at the forefront of this movement.


Listen, I’m not suggesting anyone go drowning their food in canola oil (or any oil). I have no financial interest in encouraging people to eat loads of oil. But I am against food fearmongering, and am particularly sensitive to fat fear knowing how engrained this is in the € D community. As with everything, moderation and variety is key. Cooking your omelet is canola oil isn’t going to harm your health. #antiinflammatory #seedoils #canolaoil

♬ Baby Girl – Disco Lines

Sharp, like many other professionals, is not here to villainize these creators but rather to stop the transformation of gut health into just another rebrand of diet culture. In her TikTok, Sharp not only feels for the student whose video she stitched but also helps destigmatize canola oil, a food that gut TikTok has deemed unhealthy. This need for extreme “clean” eating in the name of gut health is something professionals like Sharp see as a danger. In another video, Sharp stitches a creator who is promoting a greens powder they claim helps with digestion and reduces bloating. Sharp goes on to debunk the beliefs about this popular supplement and provides her audience with facts and science to back her statements.

Sharp is one of many professionals who have taken to TikTok to provide people with scientific facts in terms of gut health. Dr. Karissa, a GI fellow, also posts content that highlights healthy ways to improve your gut health and debunks trends. Her content gives gut health the platform it lacked in years past. These women are just two of the many medical professionals who are providing viewers with real information; under the tags gut health, doctor, dietitian and nutritionist you can find endless videos made by medical professionals.

As TikTok continues to blow up the trend of gut health, more claims and information will fill the “For You” page. Professionals like Sharp and Dr. Karissa will keep posting their healthy gut health content to combat misinformation and dangerous behaviors.

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Senior at Florida State University. Editing, writing, and media major with a minor in communications.