Hey life lovers. Thanksgiving is here at last and as many of you have noticed while looking up recipes and online coupons, there are a lot of articles and posts regarding food and health all over social media and blog feeds this time of year. While there are plenty of articles with good information, there are also a number of sources perpetuating health trends that are either false or flat out unhealthy. So today we’re going to take a look at 10 of the Worst health trends to hit the Internet.
The Fat Free frenzy
Now this one has actually been around since the 90’s. Lots of people think that when they see fat free or low fat on a food label that it instantly means “healthier”. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. In fact, if you recall your days of elementary school health, we actually need a percentage of our daily diet to consist of fats. In a healthy diet 20 - 35% of your daily calories are supposed to come from fats. Diets that revolve around fat-free foods may sound like a healthy choice, but in order to compensate for the lack of taste caused by the fat removing process, manufactures will often add sugar and other food additives to make sure their product still sells. Multiple health issues have also been linked to 100% fat-free dieting including nutrient deficiency and fatigue. When it comes to fat consumption moderation is key. You can also replace some of the fatty snacks and food you consume with healthy alternatives in the produce section of the grocery stores.
The Cleansing Craze
This one actually irritates me more than any others. Not only because the consumers are ultimately being scammed, but often times the sellers don’t even realize that what they’re selling isn’t actually doing what they think it does. This trend has gotten a lot more steam over the last 10 years but it doesn’t make it any less bogus. Detoxing by juicing or water infusion doesn’t really work the way people think it does.
Truth is there’s no actual science to back up any of those detox diets you see online and there’s no real need to do anything special to remove toxins from the body. The human body is essentially an organic machine when it comes to digestion. The G.I. tract, liver and kidneys work together as a highly efficient food processing and filtration system that takes out any “toxins” automatically without you having to do a single thing. The use of the word toxin in these cases doesn’t even point to anything concrete, as an excessive amount of ANYTHING in your body can become toxic, even water. The reality is that most of the time when people feel better after having done one of these detox diets it’s just a placebo effect and continuous usage of these diets has often times been linked to having a number are side effects such as gas, diarrhea, muscle loss and even a weakened immune system.
Now before I get too deep into this one, please note that there is a difference between excessive calorie counting and monitoring caloric intake. A healthy diet and exercise program calls for you to burn more calories than you consume in a day. Simple math would have you think that eating the bare minimum would get you better results, but that’s actually nowhere near healthy.
In fact, when we immediately start cutting out whole meals on a daily basis, we put our body into starvation mode. This causes your metabolism to slow down and your body to preserve as much of the calories you take in as possible in the form of fat. So switching from three meals a day to barely eating one meal a day will eventually lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. Sudden and drastic calorie cutting can also increase your stress level, cause nutrient deficiency and in some cases can even lead to organ problems. Cutting calories is cool as long as you’re smart about it and as long as you make sure you lead an active lifestyle that will help you burn off the calories you do take in.
I’ve honestly never encountered this one first hand, but I have heard of people actually replacing the food in their diet with supplement pills and shakes. There’s no real clever way to say it supplements cannot replace food. However, that’s not the only reason why this health trend is actually unhealthy. Like I said before, too much of even a good thing can in fact be toxic. Most people know that if you drink too much water you can actually cause harm to yourself, but it doesn’t stop there. Extremely high amounts of nutritional supplements being taken in one sitting is honestly no better than binging. Nutrient toxicity has been linked to several health issues including frequent vomiting, chronic headaches, muscle fatigue, impaired vision, hair loss and in some of the more severe cases liver damage. Your body is designed to filter out toxins with your liver being the MVP of that team. Working the liver too much in one sitting through excessive supplement intake will sideline it just as easily as excessive drinking. This is one of the main reasons why all of your food labels show what percentage of your daily recommended amount of vitamins is contained in each serving. Ensuring a proper balance of vitamins and nutrients in your body is a good way to stay healthy as long as you don’t go overboard.
A Clear Colon
This goes back to the detox trend we went over earlier. Colonic irrigation is a technique used in spas and health centers to “detoxify“ the body and treat medical conditions like fatigue and constipation. For those that don’t know the procedure basically involves a technician pumping water and other additives like soap or even coffee into your rear end in an attempt to purge toxins from your bowels. Just like with the detox diet though there’s no actual scientific evidence that this actually has any medical benefits and in fact has only proven to cause more problems than it supposedly fixes. Some of the problems that have been reported in relation to colonics have included infections, electrolyte imbalances and inflammation caused by the additives.
I’ve gotten some flack from coaching clients when I tell them this but I don’t believe wrapping works. Back when we lived in PA, my wife’s friend tried to get her to do it as part of her massage therapy business. Ultimately, she decided to leave it alone and I’m very grateful. For those that don’t know, it basically involves you being wrapped up in plastic wrap like a leftover so you can sweat off the pounds and any toxins that you may have in your body. All you’re really doing though, is losing fluid not fat and certainly no toxins as that’s a job for your liver not your skin. In fact, the skin is better at absorbing toxins than expelling them because it’s directly linked to your circulatory system. Add to that the fact that cling wrap is a plastic known for leaching harmful substance when it gets heated up and this health trend is looking less and less healthy by the second.
This is another one people always get defensive over. When I say cutting all your carbs is unnecessary people look at me like I’m crazy. While I do believe that the less nutritional carbs should be replaced in a healthy diet I’m talking about cookies and cakes. Over the last decade or so cars have somehow become everyone’s worst enemy. But really it’s a matter of just choosing the right ones. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes squash beans and certain fruits are actually great additions to your diet. In fact, I added 10 of my favorite complex carbs to the meal dealing cards in our store. Either way, don’t be afraid of carbs just make sure you pick the good ones over the bad ones.
Really Raw Vegan
The vegan diet has been proven to show great health benefits to those that do it correctly, and while I may occasionally mess with my friends who are vegan, I understand and respect their choice. However, there are a lot of people that try to get into the vegan diet without actually knowing how. Some people that try going vegan just assume that all it really requires is that you eat nothing but raw veggies and stay entirely away from meat, but it’s not quite that simple. Serious vegans know that the lack of meat means you have to pay closer attention to your nutritional intake than the average person. A 100% raw foods diet lacks a number of nutrients including calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. A serious lack of vitamin D in your daily diet can lead to issues such as weak bones. A lack of vitamin B12, which you typically get from meat, can lead to digestive problems and fatigue. That’s not to say that a vegan lifestyle is unhealthy in and of itself. Like I said, experienced vegans know what they’re doing and are aware of these vitamin deficiencies that their diet has. To compensate for this there are a number of fortified food items that are vegan friendly and available at most supermarkets.
Packing on Protein
Admittedly, I am a carnivorous foodie by preference. There’s not a vegan bone in my body. However, with that being said, I still have to point out that even too much protein can be a bad thing. Anyone who reads into nutrition knows that protein contains amino acid, which is a basic building block of muscle. This ties back into what I said about overdoing it when cutting carbs. Many of the people that get into low-carb diets, look at protein rich foods like steak, chicken and salmon as the foods you can eat with no drawbacks. The fact is, we are omnivores by design and just as you can’t live off of veggies and fruits alone without having to compensate your diet, you also can’t eat just meat. Wild carnivorous animals get away with it because they get their nutrients from the raw flesh of their prey, but modern man does not have that luxury. I've said it enough for it to be a catchphrase at this point, but effective dieting is all about balance. High-protein diets have been linked to kidney disease, the formation of kidney stones and no one needs kidney stones in their life. So while you’re eyeing that steak at the supermarket don’t forget to grab some veggies and healthy starches too.
I honestly don’t know how this actually became a health trend. Gluten-free diets are made solely for people who have issues with digesting gluten as well as those who suffer from Celiac disease. Gluten free has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss, so seeing people jump on the gluten-free bandwagon that I know don’t have issues with gluten irritates me. For starters, a gluten-free diet in a perfectly healthy person can lead to nutritional and digestive issues. It’s also been shown that needless gluten-free dieting can lead to a weakened immune system. If you honestly think you have a gluten intolerance talk to your doctor before diving into the gluten-free section.
What do you guys think of these health trends? Do I miss any tends that you know are bogus? Be sure to leave a comment and don't forget to like, subscribe and share. Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!