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Influencers advertise goods What happens if they act in the other direction?

“Bread. Bread is a big scam. White bread, brown bread, multigrain bread, whole-wheat bread—what’s the difference and which one is the best?” These are the opening lines of a reel reel Instagram Revant Himatsingka's video on bread Read more reel Instagram
Revant Himatsingka's video on bread
 posted on Instagram by Revant Himatsingka, also known as “foodpharmer” on the photo-and-short-video app. 

The 90-second video, with 8.8 million views, has all the markings of typical influencer content—products, lighting, captions, and the works. But that’s where the similarities end.

Himatsingka started putting out content as recently as April, and his bio reads: “nutrition comedy”. He also calls himself a health coach and mentions what he feels “every Indian should know” about bread.

“White bread is filled with maida [refined flour]… brown breads in India are also not healthy… are brown because of a caramel colour 150A…,” he warns. He goes on to share similar views on whole-wheat and multigrain varieties—all the while showing the labels behind the packets.


Images of the story

Himatsingka is part of a growing crop of de-influencers, a term for influencers who persuade consumers to rethink their choices. With a sizeable online presence, he boasts 551,000 followers on Instagram, 41,000 on microblogging site X (formerly Twitter), and 24,000 on professional-networking platform Linkedin. 

Unlike influencers who promote products, most de-influencers don’t monetise their content. Among these social-media personalities, food and health appear to be the most popular topics.

Besides Himatsingka, some known names in the de-influencers list include nutrition specialist Umesh Wadhavani, nutritionist Amita Gadre, science communicators Krish Ashok and Pranav Radhakrishnan, liver-disease specialist Cyriac Abby Philips, health educator and medical doctor Tanaya Narendra, and fitness coach Chirag Barjatya.

Quite a few of these de-influencers are subject experts whose content is based on their primary line of work. Others like Radhakrishnan (of ScienceIsDope) and Himatsingka switched careers to follow their interest or spread awareness.

They consider challenges such as legal notices and threats as all in a day’s work. One of the most storied examples is Himatsingka’s reel on the malt-based drink Bournvita, in which The Wharton School graduate spoke about the sugar-dense ingredients in the product.


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