The Most Popular Foods On Twitter Actually Reveal Something Upsetting About The Socioeconomic Divide In The United States
There are a lot of ways to try to measure what Americans are eating — including... Twitter? Yep: Recently, a new study found what the most popular foods are on Twitter based on the number of people posting about them. And what the researchers found doesn't speak incredibly well of our eating habits; turns out that if Americans are eating healthy, we aren't bragging about it. And what's more, the results actually have some pretty serious implications about the socioeconomic state of the country. Who knew our tweets could reveal so much?
Researchers at the University of Utah Health Sciences looked at a random selection of tweets that were geotagged within the United States to figure out which foods were the most popular. The goal was to try to determine if American eating habits varied based on location — and whether people in lower-income areas were less likely to eat healthy. The results are troubling: “We found that economic disadvantage was linked to fewer happy tweets and also fewer healthy food tweets,” lead researcher Quynh Nguyen told Vocativ.
What's more, that sadly isn't all that surprising. Fresh fruits and vegetables are often more expensive than less healthy processed food, and many people in low-income neighborhoods in major cities live in what are called "food deserts," where there is no grocery store or source of fresh food in the neighborhood.
But these things can be tricky to study. Researchers explain in the study, "the dearth of neighborhood data, especially data that is timely and consistent across geographies, hinders understanding of the effects of neighborhoods on health. Social media data represents a possible new data resource for neighborhood research."
But as a secondary benefit, it also means we get to know what the most popular foods are on Twitter. So what are Americans tweeting about? Here are our top five favorite foods on Twitter.
Out of all the tweets in the study, 108,000 mention chicken, making it one of the few top foods that could, in theory, be healthy.
Who says Americans aren't classy? 112,000 tweets mentioned wine, making it the fourth most popular food on American Twitter.
Of the tweets in the study, 173,000 mention pizza. Which sounds about right.
223,000 tweets were about beer, with another 171,000 that talked about IPA.
247,000 tweets in the sample mentioned coffee, and an additional 173,000 mentioned Starbucks. So it's really true what they say — America is a nation of coffee drinkers.
So... pizza, beer, wine, and coffee. Yep, that sounds about right for America.