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With the emergence of advanced technology come numerous online trends that many of us enjoy and even actively participate in. One of these trends is undoubtedly the Mukbang videos that frequently appear on our social media timelines, whether on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. However, studies reveal that despite being seemingly harmless videos that we thought were merely a source of entertainment, these videos could actually have a negative influence on our appetite and behaviors around food.

Mukbang, a combination of the Korean words for ‘eating’ (muk-ja) and ‘broadcast’ (bang-song), emerged in the early 2010s primarily on platforms like AfreecaTV and YouTube. Despite originating from South Korea, its popularity quickly transcended cultural boundaries, captivating not only local audiences but also individuals worldwide. It even reached a point where people from different countries started to have their own version of the trend. Mukbang videos from India, China, the United States, and even in our own country, the Philippines, are just some examples.


In these videos, regardless of where they are produced or who is performing them, they commonly show the consumption of large quantities of food within a specific timeframe. The foods prepared are usually those lacking in nutrition, such as pork, sausages, fried chicken, and noodles, among others. Aside from that, content creators online often infuse their videos with elements of storytelling, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), and culinary activities to attract more viewers and engagements.

Considering these prevailing tendencies, it is undoubtedly that these videos are hard to resist, and social media users just click, watch, and engage in them for an extended period of time, without much deliberation of their potential cognitive implications. This, clearly, raises concern as a 2020 study from the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction revealed that even though watching Mukbang videos can boost social belongingness, it can also result in “problematic sexual behaviors, internet addiction, and eating disorders”, especially if done without caution.

These suggested consequences were further elaborated and supported by a more recently concluded study that also focused on the health effects and well-being of watching Mukbang videos. In this article, the researchers indicated that ‘thin’ and attractive women mukbangers may become an easy target for sexual objectification as watching them eat large amounts of food could be seen as a fetish. This, according to the study, could drive others to see women mainly as sexual objects and reinforce the idea that women should be thin and focused on consumerism.

Now, in terms of the implied behaviors one may possibly develop by watching Mukbang videos, the same study explained that it may further contribute to the present eating disorder viewers may already be struggling with as mukbang videos have the likelihood of triggering and worsening eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and orthorexia nervosa. On the other hand, viewers who don’t struggle with food issues might be encouraged to eat excessive amounts of food, leading to unwanted obesity.

With this, while Mukbang videos may provide a momentary escape into the world of indulgence and entertainment, these studies remind us of the importance to recognize the potential impact they can have on our mental and physical well-being. As much as we can, let’s approach these tempting trends with restraint to ensure that our online experiences contribute positively to our lives rather than unknowingly motivating unhealthy behaviors.

These alarming aftereffects of Mukbang call for action not only from the viewers themselves but also from the creators behind the videos. As Mukbang continues to permeate popular culture, content creators have a responsibility to promote mindful consumption and body positivity by incorporating disclaimers about moderation and healthy eating habits into their videos, encouraging viewers to enjoy their content with mindfulness.


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