Tuesday January 21, 2020
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#Food #Filters #And #SocialMedia

Interestingly, these are mostly individuals we don't know at all, yet we choose to trust them over branded products and content

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We live in a world today where the behemothic allure with all things “food” has led to the birth and the glorification of both the savant and the Simon-pure! The culinary Gurus now enjoy a revered spot in the spotlight and so does the food that they dish out. Whats served on the plate isnt about merely eating it anymore. I too am guilty of clicking pictures of my food before eating it… I aim, I adjust, I click, I filter and voila!!… My coiffed food is ready to be shared, now that it exhibits a settled sureness.

Deep down I do wish there was content that could stand on its own. That said, the common consensus is that food posts have completely changed the way we eat. Amidst the chic and opulence of the young world, a one million follower worthy #AvocadoToast on Instagram has dulled the shine from the face of a decidedly non mesmeric #OmelletteOnToast. Irrespective of who is posting their food trivia online, amateur or professional, the very act of sharing intricately staged food photographs sets the tone for a one of a kind, cultured trend. Food nowadays is strategically built to gain traction.

Sharing is caring. Right?

Wrong!

Sharing was a generous act. Once upon a time. When we had no agendas. We may still love to share but the only “sharing” one seems to do these days is the “online” kinds… It gets us enough solicited attention. Be it the photo sharing colossus named Instagram or the thickly spread, all encompassing Facebook or the small, snackable, update-centric Twitter, today it’s all about sharing your content, with or without emotion attached to it. And to make it easier, the advent of super sophisticated smartphones has surpassed the use of any other gadget as the chief method of accessing the Internet.

The old saying that we eat first with our eyes rings so true today… Albeit in a contorted way. It’s aesthetics first, taste later. Interestingly, I keep food notes. It’s an innocuously cathartic luxury, as nourishing as it can be. It is not just only a list in my notepad. It’s a compilation of everything that has made my tongue flip in delight. No great meal goes forgotten, not on my watch. At the same time, I am also guilty of hacking unceremoniously, what doesn’t make the “aesthetic” cut, before I shoot. I might add an unnecessary glaze just so it will make the dish shine bright as if kissed by the morning glow of the Sun.

Alas! Perfecting the look kills the goodness at times but since everyone’s gaze is filtered through a lens, posting your meals online is no more a freeing act. We require visual stimulation alright. Social media has changed the way we look at food and the shift in trends is also impacting the way everything is presented to be “Instaworthy”. Restaurants are rethinking everything from menu items and decor to lighting and tableware in order to meet the photo-requirements of the guests and influencers coming through the door. Flashy launches happen almost every other day on a wave of sponsored liquor, again an Instagram-bait for the seeker. The focus on reviews and reprovals as a marketing tool has also given birth to an entire army of bloggers, who apparently have the potential to alter consumer perceptions.

Social Media
Chiara Valenzano, right, photographs her food as she has lunch with her friend Giulia Terranova at the ‘This is not a Sushi bar’ restaurant, in Milan, Italy, Oct. 16, 2018. At the restaurant, payment can be made according to the number of Instagram followers one has. VOA

Interestingly, these are mostly individuals we don’t know at all, yet we choose to trust them over branded products and content.

But what goes around, comes around! It’s a circular process because once we get influenced by social media, into buying a certain experience, we also have the liberty to communicate our experiences using the same technology.It’s called “Feedback”. This entire cycle has compelled restaurants to pay the much needed attention because the usefulness of the data both ways cannot be undermined. Over 318 million Instagram posts have been hashtagged “food” after all, so one can imagine the outreach.

Our web dominated existence has given a new meaning to “living in the moment”. It’s all about “what’s trending”, isn’t it? That social media, in any capacity or form is a tailor made talk tool, is a no brainer. Above all it’s a social currency! There is no “tangible” price to pay while using social media, ergo it’s ready use by billions worldwide. But the number of “followers” our handle attracts, can definitely put one in a place of eminence within a niche segment. Outside the cost of a website, one escapes any other overheads, including advertising, which makes Social Media, an affordable divulgatory tool for a business, no matter what the size of the enterprise. The muddy morass of social media is littered with a hoard of #hashtags, and that’s the only way forward! Interestingly enough, most adults today have more than one social media account, so imagine the extent of influence.

Also Read- Consistency is The Key to Lasting Career, Says Adnan Sami

As fun and laid back as social media can be and no matter how the businesses benefit from the added exposure, the food must still come first, followed by the apt use of our most precious resource, our time.

When was the last time we just enjoyed each other’s company and appreciated the food on our plate for it’s simplicity… As opposed to faffing around with our phone cameras to capture the “look” as much as the curators did with the “look and feel” of what would have once been real and delicious? Will there ever again be a day when eating out will be all about conversations and breaking bread, the way it used to be. Food for thought! (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How a Low Fat Diet May Cut Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Researchers have found links between obesity and pancreatic cancer

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Pancreatic Cancer
There is a significant connection between obesity and Pancreatic Cancer. Lifetime Stock

The sound of the word ‘Cancer is enough to scare anyone because there is no definite cure for it. Pancreatic cancer is one of those cancers in which the overall survival is very bleak as cases are often less sensitive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dr Pradeep Jain, GI Oncosurgery, Medical Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh informs you about the connection between obesity and Pancreatic Cancer.

The best method to decrease the mortality (death rate) of these cancers is to either catch them early or prevent them happening. In view of non-availability of any screening test and limitation of diagnostic test, it is almost impossible to catch them very early. As dietary modification has been known for a long time to prevent cancer, it is likely to work in case of pancreatic cancer also.

diet pancreatic cancer
Dietary modification has been known to cut down the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Lifetime Stock

Pancreatic cancer is associated with obesity and fat consumption as suggested in many epidemiological studies. Consumption of fat has been linked to pancreatic cancer not only directly but also by causing obesity. In obesity there is a general increase in inflammatory conditions in the body which leads to release of some chemicals (cytokines) which have important role in creation of pancreatic cancer.

Fat consumption (mainly saturated fats) have been shown to increase cancer of the pancreas by many observational studies in last 2 decades. In fact a study published (which comprised of more than half million US adults) in journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2009 demonstrated a positive association between dietary intake of total fat, particularly from animal sources. When people taking highest of fat compared to people taking lowest of fat, they are 23 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (the effect was more profound when intake of saturated fat was more).

It is very difficult to comment how does fat consumption lead to pancreatic cancer, but it is likely that fat stimulates the release of an important hormone CCK (Cholecystokinin) for biliary and pancreatic secretion. And this hormone is an important instrument in the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.

In fact, in an experimental study, the antagonist of CCK, Proglumide has shown to decrease the growth of cancer cells and decrease metastasis (spread) potential of cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is associated with obesity and fat consumption. Lifetime Stock

Now this leads to an important question whether with diet modification (by reducing content of fat) is it possible to decrease the chances of pancreatic cancer? A recent study published in Nov 2017 issue of AICR’S cancer research update) have found that older women who are overweight or obese had lowered the risk of getting pancreatic cancer by following a low fat diet plan.

Some were arranged to eat less fat and more vegetables, fruits and grains (the intervention group) other followed their normal diet (the comparison group). After 15 years of follow up, 92 cases of pancreatic cancer were identified in the intervention group and 165 in the comparison group. This translates to a rate of 35 cases per 100,000 in the intervention group and 41 per 100,000 in the comparison group.

Low fat diet was particularly effective in reducing cancer risk in over weight and obese post-menopausal woman. A low fat diet was not found to lower the disease risk for women whose weight was normal.

Also Read- Here’s How Sugar Relates to Cancer

Though these evidences support that high fat consumption may increase the chances of pancreatic cancer and by reducing the fat consumption the incidence of cancer may decrease, but these cannot be considered as very strong evidence to support a ‘cause and effect’. But this can be considered at least a caution to decrease fat (particularly animal fat) consumption in diet.

Foods that are sources of saturated or trans fats are butter, margarine (stick), coconut oil, palm oil, vegetable oil and hydrogenated oil. We should motivate the general public to consume more of fibre and exercise and reduce saturated fat content from diet. (IANS)