15 Health Trends That Aren’t as Healthy as You Think

6 minute read

By Jordana Weiss

Most people start off January wanting to be healthier. However, some health trends aren’t as healthy as you think. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about healthy living with a search online right now.

A lot of trends have been debunked as ineffective at best and harmful at worst. Here’s a list of health trends that aren’t actually as healthy as you think. Take a look at this list and see if you’ve resorted to any of these methods in the past.

1. Eating everything fat-free

The word “fat” has come to be associated with every negative word in the dictionary. Although eating a diet high in trans or saturated fats is very unhealthy, there are many healthy fats that get lumped into this category that are actually integral to a healthy diet. Leaving out fats from your diet entirely cuts out critical nutrients that you will be unable to receive elsewhere.

2. Eating a raw vegan diet

Eating only raw vegan foods can be an incredibly healthy choice. Just as long as you do everything else to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs, which these foods don’t have. Going full raw vegan can leave you lacking in nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D. Without these essential nutrients, you leave yourself vulnerable to side effects like fatigue and constipation — and that’s only in the short term. You can support your health through vitamins and supplements if you choose to go raw vegan permanently.

3. Juice cleanses

Many people believe in the benefits of a good juice cleanse to lose weight and “cleanse” the body. Luckily for us, our bodies were made to clean themselves. There’s no need to put the body through any process like a juice cleanse in order to force it to clear out impurities. Juice cleanses can often lead to unpleasant bloating and gas, in addition to other potentially more harmful side effects like diarrhea and weakened immune function.

4. Essential oils

There has been a huge resurgence in the use of essential oils in the last few years, no doubt due to direct-marketing companies like doTERRA and Young Living. These companies make money by encouraging people (mostly women) to purchase packs of oils for their families, promoting them with claims that they can reduce illness, treat burns, and heal scars, among many other beneficial properties.

While the oils smell lovely, their health claims are seriously overstated. Plus, there are some claims that companies make like “boosts your immune system” and “restores your body’s natural energy balance” that are just ridiculous and unprovable.

5. Mud runs

If anyone you know has ever participated in a mud run, you’ll have seen how much fun they can be. Many people post victorious and filthy post-race photos, and all of them seem to be extolling the health benefits of a challenging course made even more difficult with slippery mud. However, a lot of people don’t mention the many injuries that happen over the course of the race. The mud has caused many accidents. Plus, safety standards for these muddy obstacle courses are loose across the board.

6. Taking multiple vitamins and supplements each day

If instructed by a doctor, taking a great multivitamin or iron supplement is never the wrong idea. However, many people take it too far by taking a regiment of pills and supplements every day without first checking if these pills are of any benefit to them. If they checked in with a doctor first, they would probably be told that multiple pills at best would have no effect, and at worst could cause excessive nutrient toxicity.

7. The paleo diet

The paleo diet appeals to many people, especially the health-conscious meat lovers among us. Eat as much meat as you want without having to bother with things like carbs or dairy! Many people don’t realize that eating that much protein leaves you at risk for ailments like kidney stones, osteoporosis, and cancer. Plus, eating a diet heavily focused on meat will leave you feeling fuller faster, which often leads to people filling up on only meat. This leaves you vulnerable to major nutrient deficiencies.

8. Eating only organic food without checking the label

Now that many foods are labeled “organic,” there are tons of people who assume that anything with that label is safe and healthy to eat. Unfortunately, this is untrue. Having a product that’s labeled “organic” these days simply means that the company is wealthy enough to purchase the designation. Often small farms are unable to purchase the “organic” designation, so they label their food “natural” or “pesticide-free” instead.

9. CrossFit

Many exercise fanatics love CrossFit because of the challenging and competitive elements. They thrive on the variety and intensity of the different activities, and relish having a team to push them along. However, CrossFit might not be the exercise for everyone. It has been linked to many cases of rhabdomyolysis, an extreme condition where muscle cells get so overworked that they explode and leach protein into the bloodstream. Then, the kidneys work overtime to excise the protein from your blood, which can quickly lead to your kidneys overloading.

10. Colonics

Apparently, spas aren’t just places to go to relax anymore. Many spas are getting into the health game in a big way by offering colonics. It is a process where a rubber tube is inserted into the colon through the rectum and water is pumped into the colon supplemented by things like coffee or enzymes. Then the water, along with all of the “waste” from your colon, is flushed out. Colonics, like any other unnecessary intervention, can cause huge problems with your digestive tract, such as infections and electrolyte imbalances.

11. Eating gluten-free unnecessarily

Many people go gluten-free as a way to lose weight, not because they actually suffer from any kind of gluten sensitivity or allergy. What these people don’t realize is that most of the time gluten-free products are just as calorie-rich as their glutinous alternatives. Plus, cutting out all gluten can lead to nutrient deficiencies if you haven’t yet figured out how to replace your missing nutrients via vitamins or supplements.

12. Sauna suits

If you’ve never heard of these, join the club. Sauna suits are plastic garments worn during a workout to help the wearer sweat out toxins. Like a mini-hot yoga session for one. However, these suits are being discouraged more and more these days because of research suggesting that they don’t actually flush out anything other than fluid, which can lead to dizziness and weakness if you become too dehydrated.

13. Eating multiple smaller meals in a day instead of three large ones

The next time you’re tempted to break up your daily food intake into six or seven smaller meals in a day instead of the traditional three, do a bit of research first. Although it’s been suggested in the past that eating many small meals keeps the metabolism high, in actual fact eating 2-3 meals in a day has been shown to burn just as many calories as if you spread out your eating into upwards of five meals.

14. Cutting carbs

There are some reasons why this is actually a great health trend. Low-nutrient, high-carb treats like cake and cookies are things your body can definitely live without. However, it’s not safe to entirely cut out a full food group. Your body needs healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, flax, oatmeal, and berries in order to thrive. Next time you’re tempted to go whole-hog on cutting out carbs, try replacing them with healthy, high-fiber carbs.

15. A smoothie-only diet

A smoothie-only diet is a godsend for people who are trying to lose weight and eat healthier but just can’t seem to find the time to prep and eat healthy food on their own. Many different companies deliver juice and smoothie diets straight to your door. They give you a few different bottles per day, and all you have to do is drink. However, many of these smoothies are incredibly high in sugar. If you feel you truly have to go on a smoothie diet, try making your own to control the amount of sugar, and to ensure that they have enough fiber and protein.

Jordana Weiss