If you’re a fan of looking through social media sites for ways to get started on your new routines for health You’re not alone. According to research from the patient community PatientsLikeMe 11 percent of Americans interviewed said that they go to social media when seeking health-related information.
However, although some of the information that you find online might appear to be helpful and reliable Some may even be provided by doctors, registered dietitians or other experts but often, that’s not the scenario.
“[A] lot of times what we see is somebody who did their own weight loss plan or gut cleanse, or cured their own whatever it is, and they try to apply that to everyone…Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it’ll work for everybody and that’s where it can get really dangerous,” Jen Scheinman, RDN, the nutrition director for Timeline Nutrition said to Healthline. “[They] find intriguing quick fixes that people want to believe, but they aren’t backed by science and can be damaging.”
Diets are frequently portrayed as sensational via social media platforms to entice people, said Dr. Rekha B. Kumar who is an associate professor of medicine at Cornell and Chief Medical Officer at Found.
“If it were all unbiased and balanced facts, it would be in a scientific journal and not on social media,” Kumar said to Healthline.
Although social media is employed to disseminate and educate information, she also said that the content “in regards to diets and nutrition might be posted by influencers who don’t always have all the facts, but likely do have some facts.”
Scheinman agreed. She noted that a lot of diet myths begin with an ounce of truth in order to convince you to test.
“That nugget of truth can be exaggerated or misconstrued to then be wise for the population,” she added.
It can be difficult to discern between what is true or not is a challenge. To make things easier We asked health experts to dispel the most commonly-repeated nutrition myths that are being spread via social media.
The Myth of HTML0: Everyone should follow keto or low carb diets
Although keto and low-carb eating can lead to reduction in weight Kumar said that such eating habits aren’t appropriate for all “either due to medical issues such as diabetes, which could cause severe risk of a reduction in carbs or because the strategies don’t align with the biology of the individual (i.e. the right diet might be more effective).”
The type of foods that are consumed on these diets – especially the keto diet, which is focused on fats – cause anxiety, said Scheinman.
“[What] I start to see people doing is eating lots of cheese and butter and tons of steak or bacon or lunch meats that are highly processed and limiting vegetables and whole grains and other important nutrients, so they get an imbalance in their diet,” she stated.
Research that examines those who live the healthiest and longest lives have discovered that their diets are based with complete grains and beans and legumes, she said.
“Specifically beans and legumes are correlated with people living longer, so when you cut these foods out [you have to wonder] what is happening in terms of health,” Scheinman added.
In addition, adhering to the keto or low-carb diet for long periods of time can be challenging, and when people begin to incorporate carbohydrates in their diets Scheinman stated that they do not do it in a sustainable manner.
“[They’renot] focused on whole grains, fruits or starchy vegetable. They’re reverting to simple carbohydrates such as white bread, sugar, and white pasta. And they’re putting all of the weight back on, and the rest, and it’s like a cyclical kind of thing,” she explained.
Myth: You need caffeine for energy
The stimulant caffeine is one which can make the brain feel more alert, however it isn’t a substance that provides the body with nutrition or energy, according to Kumar. It’s because caffeine doesn’t stimulate the manufacturing of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the organic substance which provides energy to our bodies.
“We have certain brain regions which make us sleepy, and caffeine can help to calm these neuropathways. This is really masking our energy problem by applying a bandaid to the issue,” explained Scheinman.
Consuming coffee can result in dependence, she added. For example, you could depend on caffeine in the morning, and later on throughout the daytime. If you drink more caffeine in the evening it may influence your sleep and if you’re unable to sleep well, you’ll wake up drinking caffeine again. And the cycle repeats.
The answer to increasing energy is already within our bodies, Scheinman said.
“We have these energy-producing organelles inside every cell called mitochondria, and when we nourish them and take care of them [with] healthy lifestyle behaviors — like healthy diet, good sleep, stress management — our bodies produce energy that we need,” she added.
Myth Weight loss pills prescribed by a doctor are 100% risk-free
Some celebrities have spoken out about their weight loss through prescription anti-obesity drugs, Kumar said these injectables were only tested on people suffering from diabetes or obesity.
“There are known adverse effects, mostly gastrointestinal side effects, but we really don’t know the long-term effects of recreational use to just lose a few pounds in the absence of metabolic disease,” she explained.
Additionally, once the shots have been stopped Scheinman stated that weight gain could occur when eating and lifestyle habits aren’t altered.
“There are medications that can be used for weight loss and so [these injections] could be an indication that comes out in the future, but right now it’s only for obesity and for those with diabetes,” she added.
The myth: Try cleansing as well as detox regimens
The majority of detox diets or cleanses currently available have been shown to work in reducing long-term or short-term cardiovascular health or metabolic health according to Kumar.
“A detox might make some feel less bloated in the short term, but these results don’t last and might even lead to rebound water retention or constipation,” she explained.
There is some truth in the idea of more toxic substances in the world , and the fact that we breathe more pollutants as well as eat more junk food and sugar and, therefore, must eliminate these substances of their bodies Scheinman stated that the body naturally eliminates the harmful substances.
“[The] truth is that our body has a very complex process that is detoxifying us every day — in our liver, kidneys, digestive system, and colon — all of this is how our body gets rid of toxins,” she said.
In order to aid the body’s ability to perform these functions Scheinman suggested that people be focused on healthy nutrition as well as quality sleep. keeping away from harmful environmental pollutants whenever it is possible.
Regarding the risk associated cleansing and detoxes she said that detoxes based on food programs that recommend drinking smoothies made of fruit and vegetables or eating a Vegan diet during a short period of time are probably safe.
If supplementation is included, the program may be harmful because they “may or may not be regulated and we’re not clear what’s in them.”
The psychological harm is another issue according to Scheinman. The urge to cleanse and detoxing usually comes in the aftermath of the holidays, and comes with the idea that you are free to eat whatever you want up to January 1st and then cleanse.
“[This] promotes an unhealthy relationship with food and that you need to clean your body or punish your body for what you did to it on an enjoyable eating spree,” she added.
While the latest trends around diets or nutrition and cleansing the body can result in weight loss or better feeling in the short term, Kumar said they are difficult to stick to in the in the long run.
“Moderation and consistency is the best long-term strategies. If someone decides to follow the latest trend or diet it is important to have an option to switch to a more moderate way of life in the future,” she said.