Healthier Alternatives for Instagram Health Trends

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

Going on Instagram you'll see a plethora of posts relating to what I'd call "health trends fads." Y’all know what I mean, the notorious 28-day teatox, the slimming patches, or detox shakes and pills marketed by Instagram’s finest. As a Registered Dietitian, this always leaves me scratching my head. Now I’m not knocking anyone’s hustle, but by the mere fact that some of these products are marketed as a means to improve health, we should all be as careful as possible of what we are putting in our bodies. The problem with some of these companies is that a lot of them lack transparency in the manufacturing process. Literally, anyone with some capital and the desire to break into the nutritional supplement industry can do it. Why so easy you may ask? Well, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the supplement industry the same way the pharmaceutical industry is regulated. Manufacturers only have to ensure the product is safe and labeled correctly. The main problem I see with this is that you don’t know if what you’re getting is actually doing what it says it’s supposed to do. I just hate the idea of people being sold what could be essentially a placebo pill.

As a nutrition professional, I believe whole foods are the best route a lot of the time. When you consume whole foods you’re not only taking in one or two nutrients but several all at once working in harmony for your health. In addition to that, some of these products are only quick fixes to problems rather than making lifestyle changes to create lasting change.

.Here are my holistic alternatives to some popular Instagram health trends:

Fat Burner Patch

Fat burner patches claim to suppress appetite and aid in weight loss. It is usually applied to the abdomen or thigh area for several hours then removed. Currently, there is no scientific evidence that supports this claim.  In addition to the unproven health claims, using the patch may cause irritation on the skin and discomfort.

Alternative

Healthy weight loss begins with diet and exercise. Incorporating more fiber in the diet helps you feel full, aiding in appetite control that may help discourage overeating and snacking.  Foods high in fiber that contribute to bowel health are:

1. Water

2. Oatmeal

3. Whole Wheat Bread

4. Strawberries

5. Ripe Bananas

6. Broccoli

7. Ground Flax Seed

8. Black Beans

9. Popcorn (DIY air popped)

10. Almonds

 

Slim tea

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Slim teas or “teatox” plans boast to be able to help you lose weight.  Usually, the tea is a mixture of senna leaves (a laxative), other herbs for flavoring or metabolic boosters, and for the blends that claim to “boost energy,” caffeine.  The illusion of weight loss normally comes about from the result of laxatives emptying the bowel.  The potential implications are also concerning.  Using these teas too frequently can result in diarrhea or even developing a dependence on the tea to maintain a regular, functioning bowel. Not to mention, the herbs that claim weight loss either cause minute results or do not work at all.

 Alternative

Again, lifestyle factors are the best methods to create lasting weight loss. Being aware of portion sizing and practicing mindful eating are two ways to improve the likelihood of seeing results.

 

Hair Vitamins

Hair vitamins are super trendy and super profitable on Instagram. But the questing always begs, what's really in this stuff? Considering that virtually anyone can decide to sell supplements or multivitamins if they so choose, it's wise to do your research.

Sometimes label claims of nutrient levels are inaccurate. The purity of the actual product must be considered; sometimes there are trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead in these products. But overall, extra vitamins, if you're not deficient likely will not have a significant impact on overall health. The body cannot absorb every single that is coming in, thus making for expensive pee.

Alternative

A whole foods diet is usually the best way to get your needed nutrients. This just means eat a variety of healthy, nutrient dense foods! The more types of food you incorporate into your diet, the more likely you'll meet all your nutrient needs.

 
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-Rachael Joseph