Don’t Waste Your Time on These 7 Bogus Health Trends

May 15, 2015

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    Crazy “Health” Trends

    Chances are, you've heard some pretty crazy stuff that can help you lose weight or get healthier. While it's obvious that some trends are totally outrageous (like extreme fasting), you may not be so sure about others that seem legit (like going gluten-free). That's why we're cutting through the hype on 7 popular health trends. At best, they might be a waste of your time and money. At worst, they may be downright dangerous. Here's the scoop—plus what really works.

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    Ear Candling

    In this alternative treatment, a fabric tube that's been soaked in wax is inserted in the ear and set aflame as a way to remove ear wax. It gets a lot of credit it doesn't deserve. Research has shown that the candle doesn't create suctioning (as hyped), plus ear mechanics don't allow for infections or impurities to be "pulled out."

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  • 3

    Avoiding GMOs

    GMO stands for "genetically modified organism." Plants like grains and soybeans may be genetically modified to make them heartier crops. Many people are concerned about their safety risks—there are no long term studies that show they're 100 percent safe—but at the same time, there isn't good evidence that they are harmful or that the food is any different in your body nutritionally.

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  • 4

    Using E-cigarettes to Quit Smoking

    E-cigs are touted as a safer alternative to smoking as well as a promising way to help you quit. A research suggests they it may be as effective as the patch, though a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that e-cig use didn't prompt people to change their smoking habits—one year later, they weren't more likely to quit or even smoke less. What's more, the FDA doesn't regulate the devices (the agency says it plans to do so soon), meaning you don't know what chemicals are really in them.

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  • 5

    Cupping Therapy

    Loved by celebs like Jennifer Aniston, this ancient Eastern medicine treatment involves small glass jars that are placed on the skin (often your back) to create suction. Think of it like a big hickey—it breaks blood vessels underneath the skin to leave a bruise. The practice is said to stimulate blood flow and tap into your lymph system to remove toxins. However, the blood vessels and your lymph system aren't actually connected in this way. (Translation: it won't remove toxins.)

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  • 6

    Going Gluten-free to Lose Weight

    A gluten-free diet might be necessary for people with celiac disease (who have an immune reaction to the protein found in grains like barley and wheat), but it has become a trendy way to lose weight. The diet often backfires. People who have gone gluten-free are all constipated and nutrient deficient. Eating natural gluten-free foods, like quinoa and vegetables, is healthy for anyone—just skip the gluten-free muffins, please.

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  • 7

    Juice Detox

    What could be more popular than juice cleanse? Touted by detox-loving celebs and regular folks alike, this type of cleansing requires you to consume liquids (and minimal or no solid food) for a few days or even a week or more. There's no doubt that this low-calorie, liquid-only diet will help you lose weight in the short-term. But, it’s all water weight that you will regain as soon as you start eating again. Worse, you may also lose muscle mass, which will decrease your metabolism. Your body doesn't need a break from digestion in order to get rid of toxins.

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  • 8

    Water Fasting

    Going to extreme measures to lose weight—such as trying a water fast for a few days (or more)—is, hands down, extremely dangerous. The risks? Dizziness, fatigue, or cardiovascular problems (even fatal ones) from electrolyte imbalance that can affect your heartbeat. And, like juice cleanses, extreme fasts can prompt your body to break down calorie-burning muscle.

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