By Natalie Martin
There is no shortage of trendy and sometimes expensive treatments that claim to make you healthier.
But the reality is that health fads come and go - with some helpful, some not so helpful, and some downright dangerous.
An ineffective wellness product or routine can be a waste of money or time and in worst cases, can even pose potentially serious health risks. We've compiled a list of 10 health trends to turn your back on for a healthy 2018.
IT’S GOODBYE TO INFARED SAUNAS
2017 saw an onslaught of celebrity selfies, from the likes of Bella Hadid and Lady Gaga, taken from the inside of infrared saunas, which are booths that use light to heat your body, increasing your heart rate and making you sweat.
Advocates claim that the saunas help with everything including detoxification, weight loss, improved circulation and blood pressure.
Although some studies have found evidence that saunas can improve certain health issues, like high blood pressure, dementia, headaches, and Type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic more rigorous studies are needed to confirm infrared rays have any legitimate health benefits.
CIAO TO ACTIVATED CHARCOAL
People are now using products with activated charcoal to do everything from clear their skin, whiten their teeth, and even to detoxify their body.
Prescription-grade activated charcoal is prescribed in hospital emergency rooms as a poison control treatment as it binds to poisonous substances and helps flush them out through your gastrointestinal system.
But when it comes to skin care and other products such as black ice cream or lattes, research on its effectiveness is lacking.
It’s unclear how much activated charcoal is actually in them and what else they may contain.
The good news is that activated charcoal isn’t absorbed or metabolized by the body, and the inert substance won’t aggravate skin allergies.
RAW WATER IS RUBBISH
Rich Americans are paying $78 for bottles of raw water which sounds healthy but could actually be deadly.
Untreated spring water is a commercial product distributed through health food shops amidst claims that it is naturally probiotic, containing essential electrolytes and high levels of natural silica. Not only can the latest health craze put you in danger of contracting dangerous diseases, the purported benefits have no basis in science.
Without sterilization procedures, there is no guarantee the water does not contain pathogens, either from the water source or introduced during the collection and bottling process.
Experts have raised public health concerns about the possible occurrence of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites such as giardia, cholera, E. coli and hepatitis, to name a few.
FORGET FAT-FREE EVERYTHING
In recent years, many have believed that avoiding dietary fats was key to preventing weight gain, heart disease and various cancers — notions that turned out to be false.
However, consuming too little fat can actually cause a variety of problems, including nutrient deficiencies, memory problems, skin problems and fatigue.
On average, a healthy diet that is moderate in fat should account for 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories and come from nutritious sources.
While fat-free commercial foods, such as pastries and cookies, may sound healthier than their fat-containing counterparts, many are not.
In order to make many of these fat-free foods taste good and be shelf-stable food manufacturers add extra sugar and unhealthy food additives.
JILT JUICE FASTS
Detox diet advocates claim that avoiding solid foods and sipping on juices allows the digestive system to eliminate toxins, leading to weight loss and enhanced wellness.
However, despite their ever-growing popularity, juice cleanses and detoxes are typically not ideal for the average person.
This is because they are low in protein and do not give your body the needed nutrients for a healthy immune system.
Juice cleanses are also not a healthy choice because they tend to pack in a lot of sugar and not enough protein.
So, if you're planning on working out during a juice fast, you are likely to damage your body as it needs protein to recover after physical activity like lifting weights or cardio.
If that’s not bad enough, many cleanses can have side effects, such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea, muscle loss and weak immune function, according to both Harvard Medical School and the Journal of Family Practice.
Plus, most of the weight that you will lose due to juice fasts will be water weight, which is easily gained back once you return to your normal diet.
HOLD THE HORMONE INJECTIONS
The HGH (Human Growth Hormone) Diet involves a combination of human chorionic gonadotropin injections - hormones women produce during pregnancy - and consuming a measly 500 calories a day.
No evidence shows that HGH leads to long term weight loss and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study showed low calorie diets can be dangerous.
Extreme calorie restriction like the HGH diet commonly triggers cyclical bingeing and can lead to starving and full-fledged eating disorders.
In addition, healthy adults who take HGH put themselves at risk of a range of nasty side effects including bloating, abdominal pain, insulin resistance, joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, nausea, rashes, swelling of the appendages, carpel tunnel syndrome, vision problems and wheezing.
Plus, for all that, it's not a cheap or painless process.
Until further research supports the long-term safety and effectiveness of using HGH for weight loss, it's wise to avoid it.
CUT OUT COLON CLEANSING
Colonic irrigation, also called colonic hydrotherapy, is a technique used in med-spas and alternative health centres to detoxify the body and treat conditions, such as chronic fatigue and constipation.
A rubber tube is inserted into your rectum then into your colon, through which up to 75 litres of water and possibly additives, such as soap, coffee or enzymes, are pumped in.
Then the waste is flushed out through the same tube.
The practice hasn't been well studied - it’s unproven that irrigation enhances health and the premise isn't upheld by science as most bodies detoxify themselves naturally.
Colon cleansing can lead to a few different risks if done too often or incorrectly.
These include a risk of dehydration, infection, bowel perforations, allergic reactions to the additives used and electrolyte imbalance which is terrible for both your heart and kidneys.
Colonic irrigation has even been linked to a number of deaths in some extreme cases.
SWEAR OFF PLASTIC SWEATING
Plastic sweating is a practice whereby plastic sauna suits are worn typically in a sauna or while exercising to increase sweat, facilitating increased weight loss.
The problem with sauna suits is that the weight loss is not long term because you lose fluid, not fat.
If your skin can’t breathe and sweat you can also experience complications mid-workout such as dehydration, weakness, confusion, dizziness, fainting and heatstroke.
Ultimately, plastic sweating will do your body more harm than good.
CUTTING ALL CARBS IS CRAZY
Cutting out all carbohydrates in order to lose weight and be healthier is a massive myth.
Not all carbs are created equal, and ditching them altogether means you’re losing an opportunity to improve your health and weight.
While replacing simple, low-nutrient carbohydrates, such as those contained in some cakes, cookies, bread and pastas, with more nutrient dense foods is a wise choice, reducing all carbohydrates is unnecessary.
Complex carbohydrates are fibre-rich, satiating, reduce the risk of both type 2 diabetes and heart disease, help to optimise brain and body function, and also assist with overall weight loss.
Some examples of nutritious complex carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, squash, beans, oatmeal, flaxseed and berries.
SAY MOVE OVER TO THE MACROS DIET
The ‘If It Fits Your Macros” Diet has been sweeping social media by storm, since it was made popular by bodybuilders using the hashtag #IIFYM on Instagram.
This trendy diet uses your weight and fitness goals to dictate exactly how many calories from carbs, protein, and fat you should eat, down to the very gram.
But experts say the concept isn’t realistic due to the serious level of commitment required.
You have to be meticulous and number-focused.
You need a digital scale to weigh foods and a food log to track your intake of each macronutrient.
You may struggle to eat out at restaurants if you don’t know the exact contents of what you are eating.
Tracking intake at this level of intensity may become obsessive and exhausting.
Counting macros can cause unnecessary stress about what to eat (just like counting calories can lead to anxiety), sparking depression, according to Pennsylvania-based registered dietitian Heather Mangieri.
The best approach is to eat balanced meals that include a variety of food groups without worrying about calories.
Everyone wants to have a body that they are confident in, but achieving your goals should not sacrifice your well-being and you don’t need to pay to an arm and a leg for the latest celebrity endorsed trend.
The healthiest way to good health is through nutritious diet, good exercise and getting enough sleep.
However, sometimes our busy lifestyles make it difficult for us to cram all of the herbs, minerals and vitamins that we need into our diets.
Herbal Fix beverages provide a convenient and easy way to give your body the nutrients it may be lacking.
The Herbal Fix family of six delicious herbal beverages are scientifically formulated to enhance a specific function of your mind and body.
Available from 7-Eleven, IGA Supermarkets, Dan Murphy’s (online), Ezymart and online at www.herbalfix.com.au, get your Herbal Fix today!
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Relevant Studies and Further Reading:
Activated Charcoal Products
Low Fat Diet Risks
Cutting Out Carbs
(If It Fits Your) Macros Diet