3 Food & Health Trends That Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be, Don't Fall For The Hype

In my free time, I like to go to the gym: I train my muscle groups on separate days, I lift heavy, and I do HIIT.

So when I see all of these new food and health trends that seem A) too good to be true, and/or B) very suspicious, my ever-skeptical mind wants to know all about them. I’m here to talk about the five most problematic health trends I’ve come across in the last year and hopefully clear up what they are, what they’re meant to do, and dispel some of the BS.

Let’s start with the most recent development in ‘healthy living.’

1. Bulletproof coffee

What is it?

Bulletproof coffee is just like your regular morning cup of liquid motivation but blended with 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil (pure saturated fat).

What is it meant to do?

Bulletproof coffee claims to promote weight loss by triggering ketosis, act as a meal suppressant, improve energy, promote performance, enhance sleep satisfaction, and elevate brain power.

The verdict?

Just like how many lies have a little nugget of truth, this one is mostly fiction with 1-2 tablespoons of fact. To start, none of the ingredients in Bulletproof coffee “trigger” ketosis. Ketosis is simply a metabolic state characterized by the effects of an extremely low carbohydrate diet.

That being said, Bulletproof coffee cannot “cause” you to not eat carbohydrates in your daily life, so it cannot “trigger” ketosis at all. Additionally, caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea provide adequate health benefits on their own as they’re full of antioxidants and serve as meal suppressants. Butter is high in saturated fats (those are the bad kind), unlike avocados and fish that are sources of good fats such as mono or polyunsaturated fats. As dietitian Jenna A. Bell, PhD, Rd, says in this article from Shape, while “we need to eat fat for our body to function properly… turning your 80-calorie cup of coffee into a 400-plus-calorie mug is unlikely to promote weight loss.”

2. Going gluten-free (when you don’t have celiac disease)

What is it?

First, let’s start with what celiac disease is. At it most basic definition, celiac disease is a severe allergy to gluten which is a protein found in many foods. Being gluten-free eliminates wheat, rye, barley, malt, and flour, among others.

What is it meant to do?

In 2016, nearly 90 million people went gluten-free or semi-gluten-free according to this article written by William F. Balistreri, MD, and Alessio Fasano, MD (this article has A LOT more information – I highly recommend a read). For those who do not have celiac disease, going gluten-free is meant to promote weight loss due to the diet's limited food choices.

The verdict?

Most scientists, after reviewing studies on gluten-free diets and variables within, determined that it was not the removal of gluten from sample group’s diets but rather the tendency to live and eat healthier in general that improved health. For example, when people cut out gluten, they started eating more veggies and lean protein instead of candies and fast foods which all contain gluten.

But doesn’t that beg the question? Well, no.

You don’t need to go gluten-free to stop eating unhealthy foods. Dr. Fasano makes it clear that in a survey he and a colleague conducted, “almost half of the people do it because they believe it is good for them, that it is healthier,” but “that is not the case here. Again, if you use gluten-free counter products, if anything, you gain weight because they tend to be hyper-caloric.”

So, what’s the harm? On the one hand, if you’re not diagnosed with celiac disease, going gluten-free by choice might have an adverse effect and you might miss out on some much-needed, healthy, whole grains. On the other hand, this craze skyrocketed the availability of gluten-free products for those that need them most, and I don’t see any harm in that.

3. Coconut Oil

What is it?

Coconut oil is pretty self-explanatory; it is a substance derived from coconuts, basically the pure fat which is found in them. Interestingly, coconut oil has been marketed as a health miracle with claims that it can benefit us in many ways.

The truth, however, looks more than just a little different. A disclaimer regarding coconut oil: people claim it is healthy for your hair, your skin, and a number of other uses outside your body; however, this is of little interest to me. I don’t care where you stick coconut oil, as long as it isn’t in your mouth.

What is it meant to do?

There are a number of health claims regarding coconut oil, but the most egregious lies surrounding it are that it burns fat and is heart healthy.

The verdict?

Don’t eat coconut oil. Coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fats; in fact, it has a higher percentage of saturated fat than butter does! Coming in at a whopping 86.5% saturated fat, coconut oil is sure to clog those arteries, increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Additionally, we all know that eating fat does not burn fat. Increase in activity levels, reduction in calories and unhealthy foods, and a healthy serving of LEAN protein will promote fat loss. And while I know there are studies out there that have shown a positive correlation between consumption of coconut oil and fat loss, we all know it's best not to confuse correlation and causation!

The participants in said studies didn’t lose weight because they were eating coconut oil, they lost weight because they were exercising more and eating healthier overall in spite of eating the oil. The bottom line is this: coconut oil is fat, it's unhealthy fat, it clogs your arteries and makes you fat. Don’t eat it.

You can use it as a dope lube though.

In the end, it’s important to always be skeptical, especially when it comes to your own well-being.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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