- Not all wellness trends live up to their health claims and some, like detoxes, can be detrimental.
- Wellness trends you should skip include charcoal toothpaste, the ketogenic diet, and apple cider vinegar.
- Instead, to live a healthy lifestyle, you should exercise, eat a healthy diet, and drink enough water.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
You’ve probably seen wellness trends like charcoal toothpaste or celery juice take off on social media. While there may be some truth to some of their benefits, these trends often do not live up to their claims and can even be harmful to your health.
Here are five wellness trends you should skip and why.
1. Ketogenic diet
The ketogenic (keto) diet focuses on consuming foods that are:
- Low carb
- High fat
- Moderate in protein
Eating ketogenic encourages the body to use fat for energy instead of carbs — a state known as “ketosis,” says Jo Ann Carson, PhD, RD, the chair of the American Heart Association’s Scientific & Clinical Education Lifelong Learning Committee.
The keto diet was originally created as a treatment for epilepsy and may also have some benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. Celebrities and social media influencers have touted the keto diet as a way to lose weight, though it’s more effective as a short-term strategy.
“It helps people lose weight mostly because when you restrict carbohydrates so much, you eat less calories overall,” Carson says.
However, any restrictive diet is difficult to maintain long-term, Carson says, plus the keto diet increases your risk of health implications, like
2. Apple cider vinegar shots
Apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice. Some claim it has antioxidant properties and can aid in weight loss and digestion.
There is some research that indicates apple cider vinegar may decrease appetite if taken prior to a meal, but not enough to directly result in weight loss, says Daniela Novotny, RD, a senior instructor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University.
Some studies also suggest apple cider vinegar may prevent blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes, but these studies are small and more research is needed to determine the overall effects of apple cider vinegar on blood sugar levels.
When consumed in moderation, apple cider vinegar doesn’t appear to pose any significant health risks, Novotny says but because it is acidic, it could damage the enamel on your teeth or exacerbate acid reflux.
If you want to lose weight or improve digestion, Novotny suggests these tips instead of drinking apple cider vinegar:
- Consume a well-balanced diet of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Slowly decrease portion sizes
- Avoid eating when not hungry
- Eat mindfully
- Eat more high fiber foods like oatmeal, beans, and apples
- Drink enough water
3. Charcoal toothpaste
Charcoal toothpaste is a dark-colored toothpaste made from activated charcoal — a type of charcoal created by heating it with gas. Activated charcoal is typically used in emergency rooms to absorb excess toxins in the body either from overdose or poisoning.
Because it’s abrasive, charcoal toothpaste is thought to help whiten teeth by wearing off stains, but there is no evidence to support this, says Scott Young, DDS, a dentist with his own practice in The Woodlands, Texas.
In fact, charcoal toothpaste can harm your teeth by wearing down the protective barrier on teeth called enamel. This causes teeth to become more sensitive and leaves them more susceptible to cavities.
Instead of using charcoal toothpaste to whiten teeth, Young recommends:
4. Celery juice
Drinking celery juice has caught on as a trend due to its antioxidant properties. Claims of celery juice’s benefits include:
Celery juice is packed with nutrients, like calcium and magnesium, and certainly isn’t a bad drink to consume, Carson says, but there is no evidence celery juice can cure chronic illness or clear acne.
It isn’t necessarily harmful to drink celery juice, Carson says, but juicing strips away the fiber from celery, making it less nutritious. Fiber helps you feel full and supports gut health.
So, while you’re still getting nutrients from celery juice, like vitamins A and K, you’re really better off just eating the celery instead of juicing it.
5. Detox diets
Detox diets are intended to rid your body of toxins built up from eating large amounts of sugar or drinking alcohol.
Although detox diets may lead to rapid weight loss, Novotny says, this weight loss is usually temporary. Because detoxes are typically low in protein, most of the weight loss is either water weight or muscle.
Common types of detox diets include:
- All liquid diets like juice “cleanses”
- Restricting certain foods, like sugar or dairy
The liver and kidneys already remove toxins from your body, says Claudia Hleap, RD, a nutrition consultant based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Therefore, detoxes don’t work.
Detox diets are often restrictive, putting you at risk of nutritional deficiencies, Hleap says. Certain types of detox diets, like juice cleanses, also cause blood sugar spikes, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes.
Wellness trends may seem like simple ways to improve your health or lose weight, but they often fail to live up to their supposed claims and in some cases could even be damaging.
To keep yourself healthy and well, focus on eating a well-rounded diet, getting adequate sleep, and regularly engaging in physical activity.