Drinking water instead of eating snacks, setting intake limits and cutting out all snacking are among the top changes people have already made to their diet due to social media influence.
While more than a quarter of adults have cut out all bread, more than one in five have cut dairy entirely and 23 per cent skipped breakfast.
But, of the 2,000 adults polled, only 28 per cent checked to see if there were facts to back it up each time.
The research was commissioned by Arla to encourage people to look at the full life cycle of food and farming before making drastic decisions to remove entire food groups from their diets.
It also found 27 per cent of adults now think cutting animal products from their diet completely is the right thing to do – despite 65 per cent admitting they would prefer to consume dairy over alternatives.
Gen Z was found to be feeling the most pressured into making diet decisions, with 55 per cent using social media to inform decisions.
And 49 per cent felt ashamed to order dairy in public in front of their peers. But despite a growing demand to eat more ‘sustainably’, 41 per cent are confused by what exactly makes a sustainable diet.
The research found nearly one in five adults admit to relying on social media as a legitimate source of information, with 15 per cent saying they consume news through memes.
And 36 per cent have passed off opinions they’ve read on social media as their own according to the OnePoll data.
Divided opinions were also revealed on what makes a sustainable diet, with eating locally sourced food (54 per cent) and swapping animal protein for plant-based alternatives (41 per cent) believed to be among the criteria.
Others cited it as choosing nutrition that has been produced with the least environmental impact (35 per cent).
It also emerged 12 per cent admitted to only ordering dairy alternatives when in public, and then reverting to dairy at home. And almost one in 10 were ashamed to order dairy with their teas and coffees in public, feeling pressured by their peers to choose alternatives.
Says Debbie Wilkins, an Arla Farmer in Gloucestershire:
“Dairy farming can often be misunderstood, particularly when snap decisions get made based on what we see on social media.
“When this starts to play a role in our decision-making process, particularly when it comes to our health and wellbeing, it’s important we take a step back and look at the whole picture.
Adds Graham Wilkinson, Senior Group Agriculture Director at Arla:
“We know farming is not without its challenges and when it comes to dairy farming and the climate crisis, we have many hills to climb to reach our target of achieving carbon net-zero by 2050.
“That is why our farmers are taking action and working to drive real change through several initiatives to reduce emissions, for a stronger planet for years to come.
“As a cooperative, Arla has multiple farmer standards that we continuously challenge ourselves against, with everything from animal welfare, quality of our products and our environmental impact.
“We are constantly measuring ourselves against those standards to ensure our customers can trust that we are aiming for the highest quality products and adding this to the natural nutrition we can get from dairy.”