Oh, wellness. There certainly has been no shortage of wellness trends in the twenty-teens. Now that we’re in a new decade, maybe it’s time to revisit some of these trends and how they may be negatively affecting you mentally and physically. After all, while John Mayer says that your body is a wonderland. Let’s get back to feeling like our best selves and debunk some of these bogus trends.
1. Obsessing Over Your Fitness Tracker
The trend we would LOVE to see minimized is the obsession of the fitness tracker. We are all for motivating yourself through challenges and holding ourselves accountable but there’s a point where accountability turns into an unhealthy obsession. The trend is leaning toward no longer feeling good about movement unless we hit a certain target.
Those in favor of tracking devices argue that making people aware of their patterns around food, exercise, sleep or stress can then help users take action to improve their health. And there is valid research supporting that simply tracking your habits can inspire healthy behavior change. But for some people, this compulsive self-quantification may be doing more harm than good.
Compulsively tracking health data can have negative effects on mental health and create an unhealthy relationship with exercise and diet. Using activity trackers leads to people judging themselves for meeting or not meeting a goal, and puts them on a fast track to disordered eating, excessive exercise and orthorexia. We have become a world that is all about quantifying every aspect of our lives in order to feel worthy. The message that you are not enough until you reach your goal creates a drive beyond motivation to a level of obsession.
Try this: go to your favorite workout and leave your tracker at home. Ask yourself how you feel about your effort after the fact. Much of the joy of exercise is disconnecting and being in tune with our bodies. Take some time for you away from the technological world.
2. IV Vitamins + Infusion
We asked our favorite dietitian to weigh in on this trend–Whitney Stuart of Whitness Nutrition. “Anyone receiving IV vitamin infusions should be carefully monitored in clinical practice. Current research studies suggests there’s a placebo effect at work. Many of these vitamins can be obtained through eating a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated; an IV infusion is likely unnecessary.
There’s risk associated with IV infusions;
- high doses of certain supplements may increase your risk for certain types of cancer.
- These clinics aren’t regulated; quality and cleanliness from clinic to clinic.
- Increased risk of infection
- The science isn’t well established on their benefits.
Your intake could interact with your own vitamin and mineral supplementation and lead to an overdose. Ex: Taking in too much vitamin C, for instance, can lead to stomach issues, including cramps and diarrhea.
3. Chugging Celery Juice
Drinking celery juice as a health fix started to trend on Instagram (a search for #celeryjuice turns up more than 200,000 posts). Celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow, Maria Menounos and Miranda Kerr also jumped on board. Advocates of celery juice say it can help with conditions such as acne, anxiety and depression, migraines, digestive issues and more. The originator of the “Global Celery Juice Movement,” author Anthony William, even claimed that “celery juice can save your life.”
While drinking celery juice may be healthy — or at least not harmful — downing a glass every morning probably won’t live up to these grandiose expectations. There is no scientific evidence to support the claims from William and those on Instagram, as there have not been any large-scale human studies done using celery juice as a treatment for chronic conditions. If you like the taste of celery, or want some added nutrients, feel free to drink up — but don’t count on any miracles.
Try this: create an awesome fiber + fat filled snack with celery + 2 TBS of nut butter.
4. Nix the Tea-Toxes
Chances are you’ve seen Instagram “influencers” hawking diet or detox teas, claiming they’ll help you shed pounds and shrink your stomach. Sure, they’re tempting to try — after all, tea is healthy for you, isn’t it? Well, definitely not these types of tea. “There are no magic ingredients in these teas, and any success can be attributed simply to the added water consumption from drinking all that tea,” said Jeffrey Davis, a certified personal trainer and owner of NextLevel Strength & Conditioning. The only magic in these weight-loss miracles is how they will downsize your wallet.
Seriously, though, there is no miracle product when it comes to weight loss, no matter what Kim tells you. And “weight loss tea” is no exception.
“These teas cause everything to transit, ie liquid, through the body faster causing loose stools/urgent bathroom trips, and with chronic use, severe dehydration.”says board-certified dietitian-nutritionist and certified diabetic educator, Whitney Stuart of Whitness Nutrition.
In 2019, the Kardashian-backed detox tea became such a big issue that one Connecticut senator even called for an investigation into the product. In September, Instagram also announced new policies that will ban the promotion of weight loss remedies and cosmetic surgeries in order to prevent its users from being influenced by phony products with no science-backed health benefits—including weight loss tea.
5. The Carnivore Diet
The limiting social aspect of the carnivore diet is what makes it unsustainable. There’s nothing magic going on here, it’s just science. Glycogen is the storage form of glucose, which is what your body uses as fuel when you eat carbohydrate. Without any carbs the body burns through fat; but mostly water. Yes, you will lose weight quickly. Water weight. As soon as you eat carbs again, you will gain that water weight back. Bodybuilders cut carbs before a competition, to look as temporarily lean as possible. Try this:
- Decrease consumption of refined carbohydrates and rely more on a balanced diet of fat, protein and fiber, tremendous health benefits arise including increased metabolism, weight loss, and decreased rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
- Follow a diet rich in vegetables, low glycemic fruit, high quality animal proteins in addition to healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados and fish.
6. Juice Cleanses
Juice cleanses do not detoxify the body or support optimal organ function.
Without consuming actual food, and inadequate calories, one is put at risk of developing GI issues, nutrient deficiencies, and serious mental health conditions like eating disorders. Also: while charcoal is a traditional (and effective) way to rid the body of poisons, it’ll also empty you out of everything else; including nutrients like vitamins at the same time.
The good news? Our bodies are great at detoxing all on their own; the liver and kidneys to do that job without needing a detox diet that is, in most cases, inadequately balanced and lacking in so many important nutrients
Try this: Want a natural detox? Increase fiber intake to 25-38 grams a day, water intake to 100oz, eat more cruciferous vegetables and consume more probiotic rich foods.
7. Appetite Suppressant Lollipops
In May, Kim Kardashian sparked an internet firestorm after she posted a photo promoting “appetite suppressant lollipops” on Instagram — and for good reason. There’s little (if any) validation that sucking on a lollipop will curb your hunger.
“Not only is the claim that a lollipop will destroy your appetite and lead to weight loss extreme, but it’s pretty irresponsible of celebrities to promote weight-loss products on their social media accounts,” said Dr. Clare Morrison, a general practitioner and nutrition expert at MedExpress, an online pharmacy. And Kardashian’s not the only one who supports this brand — over 1.6 million people follow Flat Tummy Co, the brand that makes the lollipops, on Instagram.
To be clear: Any sort of flat-tummy candies are another health fad that does not work, Morrison said, adding, “It’s just another way for brands to make money through influencers — and not a sustainable or safe way to lose weight.”
8. Activated Charcoal Products
It’s a bizarre sight to scroll past on Instagram: people brushing their teeth with black toothpaste, drinking a dark black liquid or rubbing a black mask all over their face. This is all to harness the power of “activated charcoal,” in hopes of whitening their teeth, detoxing their body or clearing up their skin. But does it really work?
Turns out, there is one legit use for activated charcoal: It is used in emergency medicine when someone has life-threatening toxins in their body, Men’s Health reported. Charcoal binds to the poison in the digestive tract and prevents it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Although there are popular claims that it can brighten your teeth, detox your body or help clear up your skin, many experts are cautious of recommending it for daily use. Worse, charcoal actually prevents nutrients from being absorbed and may interfere with certain medications, like blood pressure meds — so it’s probably a good idea to skip those black drinks for now (not that they looked all that appealing to begin with!).
9. Restrictive Diets + 'clean eating'
Certain diets have been created for individuals with specific health concerns. Example: gluten-free for those with celiacs disease and Keto for preventing seizures in certain types of epilepsy. But the jury is still out on whether it’s an effective and healthy way to lose weight over the long term. Lots of things can lose weight over the short term.
We’re hoping that 2020 begins the trend of retiring unnecessary restrictions to our diets. While mostly whole foods is certainly a healthy way to eat, here’s the problem with the phrase ‘clean eating’ and eliminating entire food groups: When you say that a food is ‘clean,’ it implies that other foods are dirty, shameful and bad for you, this can lead to categorizing food into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and make you fear certain foods, which harms your relationship to food overall.
Try this: Rather than subscribe to a rigorous “clean eating diet,” or any other restrictive diet for that matter, focus on healthy eating habits overall instead of depriving yourself. There’s no need to eliminate entire food groups or only focus on one.
10. Getting wellness advice from completely unqualified sources
If you have an electrical problem, would you contact an MMA wrestler? If you want someone to defend you in a legal case, would you choose a circus clown? Do you need someone to fix your smartphone? Why not call an actor? Need someone to score a goal for your team in the World Cup? How about a dentist who doesn’t play soccer? If none of these options makes sense, why oh why then would you take health advice from someone who just doesn’t have the proper experience and expertise, like a reality television star, a movie actor, or, even worse, a random person on Facebook who doesn’t have actual medical training? Saying “oh, it made me feel good,” is not demonstrating that you understand science and the human body.
Try this: We love our local board-certified dietitian-nutritionist and certified diabetic educator, Whitney Stuart of Whitness Nutrition. She believes nutrition should be focused on the addition mindset instead of the American diet culture’s standard of deprivation. She holds a real food & grace approach through her functional nutrition practice which offers full-spectrum nutritional assessment, corporate wellness challenges, and seminars.
She is also an award-winning Whole30 Certified Coach, leading thrice-yearly groups and community social health events through her co-founded social wellness brand, The Dallas Duo.
Whitney provides relationship-based nutritional counseling paralleled with realistic goal setting for a solid foundation of healthy habits. Each patient is provided with personalized guidance. Learn more & connect with her at www.whitnessnutrition.com.
Whitness Nutriton | Huff Post | Refinery29 | Forbes | ADA | Well + Good | Jessica Wright, M.D., a board-certified surgeon | CDC | Science Daily