Eat Your Heart Out – Analyzing Intermittent Fasting’s Media

Three weeks ago, INSIDER, published an article titled, “Does intermittent fasting work? Research doesn’t have a definite answer for its long-term effects.” 
My topic revolved around Intermittent fasting and how the media interprets it. In my last post, we explored just how many variations of content that is produced, revolving Intermittent Fasting. I chose this article to analyze because it includes many elements I spoke about in my initial post, why I wanted to dive into the topic in the first place. So let’s begin!
 One thing that I have found, not just on INSIDER stories but in many articles I’ve researched for this project is this little bullet point system they seem to like putting at the beginning of the article. Before I have even read the article, I am given this synopsis of its content.
Perhaps with another subject matter, I would feel more comfortable with this, but with information regarding diet and healthy, which I feel is already so manipulated by the media as it is, I would like to not “skim” the article, reading the only the highlights. I think it’s dangerous to promote the habit of not actually reading, contextualizing, and interpreting the information given, especially revolving around a topic as important as your health.
The article is listed as being reviewed by Melissa Rifkin. When clicking her link, we are taken directly to her Instagram. With a little more digging, I was able to find her personal website. This made the article more credible to me, even before reading the article. I now feel more confident that what I am reading is true.
Reading further, the article has many other sources cited.
Initially, when seeing that the article was reviewed by Melissa RIfkin, I was worried that she would be the only source used, creating, in my opinion, some bias. However, this was not the case. From the 2009 study that was published in The American Journal to referencing the experts that also gave their insight on the matter.
My biggest discrepancy with how the topic is covered is how limited the information given is. Perhaps it’s because I’m old fashioned, but when it comes to coverage on diets and their effects, I feel as though in this case, less is not more. While the article gives a general synopsis of the eating schedule you would be partaking in and a graze over the fact that the diet isn’t for everyone, it fails to explain in-depth the WHY behind the statements, which as a reader, makes the article less credible to me.
Furthermore, the use of the photo used at the beginning of the article, the empty plate, implies more of the idea that on this diet, you will be restricting more than anything.
This use of imagery could be triggering to those who have or still are suffering from eating disorders. As someone who has struggled with a relationship with food their entire life, I find the use of this photo to be manipulative and creating misinformation. The diet doesn’t consist of completely cutting out all food, simply scheduling when you do consume those calories, but the use of this photo, especially at the beginning of the article, gives the reader a misrepresentation of what the diet is.
I don’t think this article is bad per se, through my research I have found much worse.
I would give the article a solid C for effort, coverage and well-sourced material.
There are some key elements in the article that create an image for the diet, creating a specific way that users will interpret and view intermittent fasting. When it comes to health and diets in the media, I am learning more and more just how skewed the scope of the topic is.