Influencers are bringing back 'Day on a Plate'. And it's more toxic than ever.

A toxic diet trend of the 2010s is making a dangerous comeback supercharged by TikTok's algorithm. What I Eat in a Day content has experienced a massive resurgence on the platform, clocking up billions of views.  

As the name suggests, creators share what they eat over a 24-hour period. It may sound boring but this type of content is a massive engagement driver for many online creators.

The trend originated on YouTube more than a decade ago, but thanks to the inception of TikTok, it's even easier now for everyday people to share what they eat and for others to follow.

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Australian influencers are jumping back on the trend in their droves, despite it once being considered taboo. Sarah Tilse is one of them.

Better known by her handle Sarah's Day, this week, the 31-year-old announced that after a long hiatus, she will again be sharing what she eats in a day. The controversial influencer said she's excited to go back to filming the content that once formed the basis of her YouTube channel. 

"Back in the day in 2013 when I would film these videos, I was so fixated on looking a certain way and being shredded and being at low body fat. Or I was trying to get my period back or trying to heal my acne. There was always a specific goal in mind in terms of what I was putting into my body. 


"Whereas now, I'm 31, I have two children, I'm just a stay-at-home-mum, trying to work at the same time and I'm like, I just want to fill my body with nutritious foods that are going to give my skin a glow, give me energy, allow me to be regular and poop," Tilse told her Instagram story.

In a confusing twist, the YouTuber divulged one of the main reasons she stopped filming What I Eat in a Day content was due to backlash. She also admitted her own videos had a negative impact on her personal eating.

"I didn't like watching them (What I Eat in a Day videos) because I would sit back and be like, 'woah, I eat so much,' or like, 'oh my gosh I'm consuming double what that person consumes'. Or like if there was a really beautiful model, and she's eating a certain way you subconsciously think, 'Should I be eating like that?'," Tilse said.

"I never want people to watch my videos and then feel bad about themselves or have any negative reaction. So, I fully pulled back because I'm like, I don't want people consuming my content and like comparing themselves. So, I stopped doing them. But I think particularly now, with today's What I Eat in a Day, my goal is to eat real food, try and have three main meals and try not to eat the leftovers of my kids."

TikTok’s 'It Girl' Alix Earle is no stranger to this trend. The US influencer revealed the number one question her followers ask her is what she eats in a day. So, of course, that's the content she serves up to her young, impressionable female audience.


While Alix preaches balance is key and shows herself snacking on chips and salsa in between healthy meals, her diet has been slammed by nutritionists online for being under the recommended calorie intake.

The 23-year-old took it one step further this year, by documenting herself doing the 30 Hard Challenge. A shorter remix of the viral 75 Hard Challenge, Alix invited her followers to do the strict challenge with her, which included completing two 45-minute workouts a day, drinking a gallon of water, abstaining from alcohol and eating healthy home-cooked meals.

@alixearle Whos joining me!? #30hard ♬ original sound - Alix Earle

It’s depressing enough to think we've reverted back to championing a toxic diet trend of the 2010s, but the reality is worse.

According to accredited Practising Dietician and Nutritionist Tania Ferraretto, the trend is even more dangerous than in the past thanks to how TikTok's algorithm works.

Citing ground breaking research from the University of Melbourne's Dr. Scott Griffiths, she said that TikTok has been proven to target users with eating disorders.

"The TikTok algorithm has come under fire for the way the platform preys on vulnerable people with eating disorders and body dissatisfaction," Ferrraretto said.

The study found that participants with an eating disorder were disproportionately served appearance-orientated content, with the delivery intensifying over time.

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The credentialed eating disorder clinician warned the trend can be triggering for those with a history of disordered eating or an eating disorder.

"Having an eating disorder often amplifies the desire to compare what you are eating to others. We spend a great deal of time with clients, helping them understand their own health and nutritional requirements and discouraging them from comparing themselves to others. Unfortunately, this current trend does the exact opposite," Ferraretto said.

Rather than banning this type of content from its platform, TikTok has instead added a disclaimer for those who search the hashtag - but only on TikTok's desktop version.

The disclaimer reads, "You are more than your weight. If you or someone you know has questions about body image, food, or exercise - it is important to know that help is out there and you are not alone. If you feel uncomfortable, you can confide in someone you trust or check out the resources below. Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other."

Disclaimers are not enough though. Social media platforms and the influencers who benefit from them, need to question whether it's worth championing this new era of ultra thinness to stay relevant.

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation’s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673).

Feature image: TikTok @alixearle.

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