Since the rise of social media, TikTok and other social platforms have brought us many food trends. As it turns out, the latest TikTok food trend to go viral, frozen honey, is terrible for your health and could cause diarrhea. In light of this, we’ve put together a list of the top 25 social media food trends and challenges that you should avoid. While some are satisfying to watch, some actually don’t work, some taste bad and some are downright risky to your health and safety.
Often, food trends that go viral say more about how we use social media and what we like to watch than they do about what we actually eat. Most of these foods were solely designed to get our attention. They are meant to be so over-the-top or shocking, that we won’t want to look away.
Engaging videos featuring food trends can keep us watching until the end, either to see how the recipe turns out or how it tastes. And while these videos can be highly entertaining, most people agree that you wouldn’t want to try to replicate over the top foods in real life. One New York Times writer points out that some videos are not even meant to be instructional in nature. “The goal seems to be to make food look as alarming as possible,” they say about the popular Chefclub’s viral videos.
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Other food trends are meant more as eating challenges, where I person tries to eat a food with parameters that make it difficult to complete. Many people create these videos and food trends with hopes that they will go viral, and the more over the top or difficult that challenge, the more likely that will happen. However, you should know the health risks of attempting difficult food challenges. Keep scrolling to find out the top food trends that went viral and should be avoided.
TikTok Frozen Honey
Users of TikTok uploaded videos of themselves eating frozen honey. They pour honey into a plastic water bottle and freeze it for 4-8 hours. Once it’s ready, they use two hands to squeeze the honey out of the bottle – the texture looks like a thick gooey treat. But while it looks satisfying, health experts say eating that much honey can cause diarrhea and stomach aches. It can also be bad for your teeth and cause your insulin to spike.
Frozen Mini Eggs
A mom on TikTok went viral with a video showing “how to make cool eggs for your kids in the morning”. She takes some eggs from her refrigerator, and places them in the freezer while still in the shell. In the morning, she removes the shell and the egg is solid, allowing her to slice it like a loaf of bread. It creates tiny “mini eggs” with the yolk in the middle, which she then pops in a hot pan on the stove while still frozen.
This “mini egg” trick should be avoided because the FDA clearly states that you should not freeze eggs in their shell. And cooking eggs from a frozen state could result in a higher chance of foodborne illness, such as Salmonella. With eggs already being one of the leading causes of food poisoning, don’t take the chance of making your kids sick with by serving them any frozen egg food trends.
Liquid Nitrogen Dragon Puffs/Dragon’s Breath
Though it may be fun to watch chefs using it on cooking shows to make ice cream, liquid nitrogen trends can be dangerous to your health. If you are handling liquid nitrogen yourself, you are at risk for severe skin and internal organ damage. And recent trendy food ASMR videos show people eating foods with liquid nitrogen, such as “Dragon’s Breath”. These are crunchy cereal or cheese puffs treated with liquid nitrogen right before they are consumed to create a misty/smokey vapor.
The FDA website states that you should avoid foods that are prepared with liquid nitrogen right before consumption (at the point of sale). Outside of social media, these are sometimes sold in malls and fairs targeting kids. Inhaling the liquid nitrogen vapor can cause breathing difficulties, specifically in people with asthma.
Cooking with Gatorade
One guy cooked his macaroni pasta in a whole bottle of boiling blue Gatorade, causing an uproar on social media. He uses a second bottle of Gatorade to make the sauce, and he adds in flour as a thickening agent. In an even more bizarre twist, he tops off the concoction with a pickle. The colorful dish is made for social media, but not for your mouth.
The SpaghettiOs pie video promises, “This is the fastest family recipe for dinner you will ever see.” This viral video features a woman filling up a pie crust with cans of SpaghettiOs and mozzarella cheese. She tops the pie with buttered bread covered in granulated garlic and puts it in the oven. The video never even shows the oven temperature or cooking duration, so it’s less of a recipe video and more of a trainwreck that you can’t stop watching. With so many processed carbs on top of processed carbs, it might be a fun video to watch, but this is not a balanced meal that you should feed your family. Watch comedian Kalen Allen react to the video below!
Touting this as the “ultimate nacho hack,” a woman in this video pours all of the ingredients for nachos on her kitchen counter, then mixes them up into a gooey mess. She then uses an ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture into a cone-shaped tortilla. This is more like something you would see at Cold Stone Creamery than something you should be doing in your kitchen with nachos. According to Elite Daily, this video was probably made as a prank to go viral around the Super Bowl season and is not a serious food hack that anyone should try.
Blue Takis in Burger
This viral video clearly states their intention at the beginning: they are putting Takis in a burger just to get Gordon Ramsay’s attention. So credit to them for being honest. They start out by rolling hamburger meat in blue takis, then stuff the middle of the burger with green Takis. Then they coat the burger in an egg wash, then cover the entire burger in coarsely broken pieces of blue Takis to “add crunch to the outside”. Finally, they drop it in a deep fryer. Avoid this because the Takis are full of palm oil and artificial coloring, so adding them to a burger and then deep frying it is really bad for your health.
Just like the others from this section of the list, there is only one reason you are making spaghetti with Nerds: to go viral on social media. This woman wraps uncooked spaghetti in hamburger patties and browns them on her stove top. Then she places the spaghetti burgers in a baking dish with peppers and onions, and tops the ground beef patties with Nerds candy. Why? She says the nerds will release the sugar and add just the right amount of sweetness, but this is something that should be avoided.
The Nerds candy will not break down and release sugar evenly, they actually stay in tack. The tomato sauce, onions and peppers she uses will have enough sugar to make the dish sweet enough. But if you must make it even sweeter, just add some brown sugar to your tomato sauce instead of using Nerds.
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Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese
This mom earns her second spot on our list, because she is trying hard to create food trends with multiple outlandish food videos. For her Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese, she empties a bag of Flamin Hot Cheetos into a pot of boiling water and half a bag of the Lime Flamin Hot Cheetos. Then she stirs in the powdered cheese from a standard Kraft Mac and Cheese box to create a “sauce”. Finally, she mixes it with the boiled pasta.
This should be avoided because you shouldn’t boil down a bag of Cheetos just to get the powdered flavor, because you are getting all of the salt, corn and oil too. If you want some Flamin’ Hot Cheetos flavored Mac and Cheese, the brand actually makes a version you can make at home (buy it here). It will have the correct balance of ingredients that actually make it a little healthier for you and will have the best flavor.
Cooking With Your Mouth
Running out of room in your kitchen during the holidays? One woman decided to use her mouth to cook Christmas dinner stuffing in this viral video. She starts with taking a bite of an onion and uses her teeth to chop the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. She also uses the heat of her mouth to melt butter. This concept is totally bizarre and the video is gross, but kind of funny. Definitely avoid trying this at home if you want anyone to enjoy eating your holiday cooking.
Kitchen Counter Pasta
Similar to the nacho hack woman, this video features a title promising the “ultimate spaghetti trick” that is made directly on the kitchen counter. A woman starts by pouring a jar of Prego brand sauce onto her white marble kitchen counter, which is scary enough on its own. After adding meatballs, parmesan cheese and pasta, she makes even more of a mess by taking tongs and mixing it all together. There is no hack or trick here other than to get people to watch til the end of the video, so you should definitely avoid trying this at home.
There are so many TikTok food trends that make us angry, but this one might be the worst. Using a toaster to cook a steak is a bad idea, and we seriously doubt this video shows how this steak was actually cooked. If you have ever cooked a piece of meat, you know that it will drip fat, and if fats drip into your toaster it will cause smoke and fire. You won’t get your steak cooked evenly and it will ruin your appliance. Food trends featuring bizarre items cooking in a toaster need to be avoided at home. You shouldn’t cook anything in your toaster other than foods like bagels, sliced bread or Eggo waffles.
Boiled Potato Chip Mashed Potatoes
Many TikTok videos have been created showing people how to make “mashed potatoes” by boiling bags of Lays potato chips. Once they start to break down, people stir them until creamy. Then they add in traditional mashed potato seasonings like butter, cream, salt and pepper.
However, this should be avoided because the chips won’t give you the consistency and texture of a true mashed potato. Plus, there is so much added salt in this version, it’s not great for your health. You are better off to make mashed potatoes from scratch, or if you are looking for a quicker solution, buy them already made from your grocery store’s prepared foods counter. They will taste much better!
3 Ingredient Nutella Brownies
These brownies seem so simple with just three ingredients. And who doesn’t love Nutella?! But they should be avoided at all costs. The vast majority of the batter is made up of a full jar of Nutella. Nutella’s main ingredient is palm oil, so the brownies just end up tasting like a soft baked block of vegetable oil with zero hazelnut or chocolate flavor.
Wine and Cheese Shots
Shredding cheese and melting it into small shot glass molds, then drinking wine from it doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? This fad might look interesting, but we don’t recommend this for taste or function. We suggest making a cool cheese platter using a functional and beautiful tray like this one, and serving your wine in glasses for the best party experience.
Listen, we are all for a combination “mashup” food like the Cronut or a French Toast Bagel. But food mashups are best when they are taking two things that are tasty on their own, and combining them to make something even better. The appeal of sushi rolls is a nice, bite sized balance of fish, rice and toppings. The sushi burrito takes the sushi roll and super sizes it, which takes away all of the proper ingredient ratios per mouthful. It can cause too much raw fish in one bite, and too much rice and seaweed in another bite. This food trend should be avoided because it’s made for social media more than quality of eating.
The saltine challenge asks users to eat six saltine crackers without water in 60 seconds, even all of the crumbs. The problem with this social media challenge is that it’s dangerous and can cause gagging and choking. The saltine crackers absorb all of the saliva in your mouth, which makes it extremely hard to swallow. They can get stuck in your mouth and throat unless you drink water.
Users try to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in one minute without drinking any water, but this food challenge should definitely be avoided. According to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, it’s dangerous because cinnamon powder dries out your mouth and throat, causing coughing, gagging, and irritation. This could also be very bad for your lungs, because it is easy to accidentally inhale. Same goes for the nutmeg challenge – steer clear.
Mentos and Diet Coke Challenge
You know how Diet Coke fizzes and explodes when you add mentos to the bottle? That experiment has been around for years and sparked people’s curiosity: if I eat Mentos and drink Diet Coke, will I explode too? With the rise of social media, this human experiment is a natural experiment to document via YouTube and TikTok. But it is an urban myth that this combination will make your insides explode, busted by The Myth Busters. By the time the soda reaches your stomach, it will lose too much carbon dioxide to erupt. However, it should be completely avoided. People who’ve tried the experiment warn that they experienced excess gas, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
Chubby Bunny Challenge
The Chubby Bunny Challenge has actually caused people to die – at least one 12 year old girl and a 32 year old woman – and it is not recommended. It’s one of the most popular social media food trends, and involves stuffing your mouth with as many marshmallows as possible until you can no longer say the words “chubby bunny”. Stuffing your mouth with too much food is dangerous and this challenge creates a serious choking hazard. Save the marshmallows for your s’mores and hot chocolate and avoid this food challenge trend.
Sprite and Banana Challenge
This social media challenge actually promises to make you vomit. According to Urban Dictionary, the Sprite and Banana challenge requires a person to eat two bananas and then quickly drink a liter of Sprite. The reaction of the soda and bananas causes many people to get sick and vomit, so there is no need to try this challenge unless you are looking to make yourself sick.
Ghost Pepper Challenge
This challenge is very straightforward: film yourself eating one extremely hot pepper that is high on the Scoville scale. This can include hot peppers such as the Ghost Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Scorpion Pepper or Carolina Reaper. There is now a company that sells a single tortilla chip covered in flavor from these hot peppers and calls it a “One Chip Challenge”. But these types of challenges should be avoided because they can cause nausea, fainting and difficulty breathing. One man actually ended up hospitalized after eating a Ghost Pepper as part of a restaurant challenge. Plus, the oils from the peppers can linger on your hands, get in your eyes and other spots that will burn.
Milk Gallon Challenge
The Milk Gallon challenge has many variations, but all of them involve chugging a gallon of milk during a specified amount of time, usually one hour. However, drinking that much milk in a short amount of time can cause vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and bloating. According to How Stuff Works, this may be due to the amount of calcium, lactose or just plain stomach size.
Soy Sauce Challenge
Like the other “challenges” on our list, the soy sauce challenge involves drinking a large amount of soy sauce in a specified time period. This can cause a salt overdose which is very dangerous to your health. One teen slipped into a coma and had seizure-like activity after he drank too much soy sauce on a dare. He suffered from Hypernatremia (excessive sodium), which can lead to seizures, unconsciousness and even death according to WebMD. Do not try this at home.
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Salt and Ice Challenge
This challenge involves covering your skin with salt and ice with friends, then seeing how long you can make it before you take it off. Teens started posting photos of their burns and reactions to this challenge, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The mixture of salt and ice causes a reaction on the skin similar to frostbite, resulting in 2nd and 3rd degree burns that can scar. A 12 year old girl in Iowa needed to go to the E.R. for burns after trying this challenge with friends. Definitely avoid trying this and tell your children not to try it.
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Bridget Coolick is a freelance writer and food blogger based in New York City. She enjoys creating food videos for Instagram and TikTok. When she’s not cooking the latest recipes or trying out kitchen gadgets, she’s probably watching The Food Network or BravoTV.
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