If endless days stuck at home have you spending extra time on the Internet, you’ve probably come across some of these trends. Many wellness crazes travel quickly — courtesy of celebrities and influencers — with little to no evidence to support their claims.
I’ve been interested to see a number of articles popping up recently with similar advice from doctors and nutritionists — you know, actual experts. They say we can safely ignore the following, no matter how popular they may seem at the moment.
Sure, limiting carbs helps you lose weight in the short term. But that’s simply because 1) you’re eating less in general, and 2) your body will burn fat in the absence of glucose.
The keto diet — emphasizing high fat, medium protein, and low carbs — was originally used to treat epilepsy in children. (I did not know that!) But we need carbohydrates for proper brain function and energy. Meanwhile, excess saturated fat is linked with serious issues such as heart disease, and too much protein can stress our kidneys.
This way of eating is hard to sustain. Doctors say we’re better off eating a balanced diet, limiting empty carbs in favor of fruits and veggies, and substituting healthy fats like olive oil for too much cheese and butter.
Activated Charcoal Detox
It’s probably been awhile since you spent a wild night binge eating or drinking. But this trend remains popular as a way to supposedly get rid of toxins or induce a bowel cleanse.
One nutritionist explains that eating coal will not bind up your toxins, as your body is already designed to metabolize these substances. Further, charcoal can be downright dangerous and bind nutrients you do need, potentially leading to digestive and motility issues, such as difficulty swallowing or using the bathroom.
Instead, we should be getting daily exercise, drinking lots of water, and eating fiber-rich foods to keep our digestive systems running smoothly. Good sources like fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans and whole grains are safer and more effective.
I admit I was seduced by this one. No more! If we shouldn’t eat charcoal, why risk any problem for your digestive system if you swallow a bit in your mouth? One dentist writes: “[Charcoal] will not take out the stains or internal pigments from the pores of your enamel, only peroxide can do that. Charcoal toothpaste is grainy and abrasive and has been shown to wear away healthy enamel and gum tissue.” It’s back to Crest Whitening for me.
Probiotics support our immune system and feed our gut with healthy bacteria that aids digestion and helps neutralize inflammation. But kombucha is high in sugar, outweighing any probiotic benefits, so it’s best saved as a treat.
If you want to try a probiotic drink, nutritionists suggest kefir — a fermented liquid that’s like a thin yogurt and is high in protein and calcium. Boost your probiotic intake with a daily supplement, and add 0% or lowfat plain yogurt, and sauerkraut to your diet.
I’ve read that YouTubers like Michelle Phan advocate mixing kitty litter with coconut oil to create a natural solution. Yuck! Supposedly, this combo breaks through grime due to its texture. But doctors say this can cause upper respiratory or lung issues from the silica dust that is often in the litter. Plus, scrubbing with large particles is really rough on your skin. Don’t even consider this one!
CBD Skin Care
The ingredient in marijuana that doesn’t get you high, topical CBD is great for muscle aches and pains. However, even though it might help with inflammation, there are no peer-reviewed clinical studies to show any significant skin benefits. You’re better off with a well-established anti-inflammatory such as niacinamide. Check with your dermatologist.
Can you drink your way to firmer skin? Sorry, that’s an urban myth. Collagen can’t travel through your stomach to your bloodstream to improve your skin — your digestive enzymes will break it down long before it can do anything. Topicals don’t work either, because collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the dermis. Proven ways to stimulate collagen include retinoids such as retin-A, peptides, vitamin C, and pulsed light treatments.