Social media is both a gift and a curse. On one hand, it can be a powerful tool for building community, exchanging ideas, and finding inspiration. But there’s also an ever-present dark side to social media. It’s increasingly becoming a place where inaccurate information is shared, especially health and wellness tips.
Following a dubious social media trend can drain your wallet and even put your health at risk. So, we put together a list of the top five social media health trends that you should avoid below:
1. Celery juice
Raise your hand if your social media pages have been overtaken by pictures of friends and influencers drinking celery juice!
This bright green elixir is being touted as the cure for everything from digestive distress to cancer. But for all of its fanfair, celery juice falls short when it comes to the evidence supporting these claims.
While one small pilot study found that celery seeds may help lower blood pressure, there has not been any research done on celery juice.
Like other vegetables, celery provides health-promoting antioxidants and vitamins. It also contains fiber, which ends up getting lost during the juicing process.
Celery is also high in vitamin K, so those taking blood thinners such as warfarin should talk to their prescribing healthcare provider before adding celery juice to their diet.
If you enjoy celery juice, there’s no reason for most people to avoid it, but eating whole celery is probably a more healthy choice.
2. Extreme exercise programs
Are you extreme? Hardcore? Tough as nails? If you don’t consider yourself to be part of these categories, spending some time on social media will surely convince you that it’s time for a change. Once you see your friends posting videos of their extremely intense (and extremely sweaty) workout sessions, you may feel compelled to join.
Not so fast!
Before jumping into a new exercise program, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider to make sure that you’re cleared for exercise. It’s also better to ease into exercise instead of going from none whatsoever to an extreme program in a single bound. Diving headfirst into a program with “no days off” as a slogan can set you up for overuse injuries.
Contrary to what social media portrays, leaving a giant puddle of sweat on the ground isn’t a necessary part of an effective workout. Neither is being so sore that you’re not able to walk for a week.
Ignore the fads and work with a qualified trainer who can help create a program that will enhance your physical fitness and set you up for long-term success.
3. Rapid weight loss
Who doesn’t love a good before and after picture? Companies know how effect it is to show photographic proof of dramatic weight loss. They even get extra attention if the pictures are within a short timeframe. But are quick results like these even healthy?
For those looking to lose weight, the typical recommendation is to aim for a one to two pound loss per week. This means that anyone touting their regimen as a way to lose 20 pounds in two weeks clearly doesn’t have your health in mind.
Slow weight loss is ideal because drastic (and often unhealthy) changes are needed to lose more. Going slow also gives you a better chance of maintaining the weight loss and can protect your metabolism.
There are doctor-supervised programs that may encourage a larger weekly loss, but these protocols include strict monitoring of health markers and are only appropriate for those who have a lot of weight to lose.
4. Raw water
What’s the deal with raw water? It has the word “raw” in it, which might make you think that it’s healthy, but it can actually be extremely dangerous.
Why are social media influencers drinking raw water?
The proponents of raw water claim that it contains more minerals than tap water. However, water isn’t a significant source of minerals for humans.
Those who choose raw water also cite added fluoride as a negative aspect of tap water. Fluoride is added to the US water supply to help prevent cavities and strict standards are set by the Environmental Protection Agency to help ensure safe levels.
Another common argument in favor of raw water is that it has an alkaline pH and can help lower the level of acid in the body. However, science tells us that our bodies tightly control our pH balance and drinking alkaline water won’t have an effect.
Not only are the claims about the benefits of raw water unproven, there are also harmful consequences of following this trend.
Raw water is untreated, so it can be filled with bacteria and other microorganisms. This increases the likelihood that the water is contaminated with bacteria or other pathogens that can make you sick. Raw water is extremely dangerous for children and those who have weakened immune systems.
Tap water is purified to remove chemicals, animal waste, and pharmaceutical pollution, but raw water is not processed to remove these dangerous contaminants.
While some people believe that untreated, raw water is better for you, it’s clear that it can be harmful to your health. Why take the risk?
5. Detox tea
Detox tea is the latest craze among high-profile social media influencers. Pictures of their slim and trim bodies next to cups of tea are flooding the internet. The captions associated with these pictures claim that the teas remove toxins from the body and lead to weight loss.
Is detox tea just social media smoke and mirrors, or the real deal?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but according to the National Institutes of Health there is no convincing evidence that detox programs remove toxins from the body or have any measurable health benefits.
Detox tea alone also does not lead to weight loss. It’s more likely that the extreme restriction of food that usually goes along with the detox program is what causes weight loss.
Drinking tea can be a soothing activity, but the miracle health claims about detox tea are just not true. Buyer beware!
We hope you keep these five trends in mind the next time you’re scrolling through social media. While it may be tempting to believe claims being made by social media influencers, we encourage you to take a step back and examine the evidence. If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
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About Slingshot Health
Slingshot Health is a health tech startup that brings top healthcare providers and patients together. Patients bid on the cost of services and healthcare providers accept bids based on availability. Slingshot Health is unique in that it is a mutual marketplace putting both patients and providers back in control. Visit us at slingshothealth.com.