Scrollers Beware: TikTok Health Trends You Should Avoid

Scrollers Beware: TikTok Health Trends You Should Avoid

TikTok is great for learning dance moves, cooking tips, cleaning hacks, and much more. But health advice? Every week, new viral health trends seem to ripple across the platform, with content creators sharing so-called hacks to cure what's afflicting you. A share of these trends are just ridiculous, others are a waste of money and some can have dangerous side effects. Skip these ideas the next time you scroll through TikTok.

1. Coffee with Lemon

This TikTok health trend is more of a weight loss challenge and not the healthiest. People advertise they squeeze fresh lemon juice into their coffee to burn fat and promote weight loss. However, there's no scientific evidence backing this combination. Instead, slight results may come from excess water weight loss since both coffee and lemon juice are diuretics. Rather than health advice, this trend is a potential eating disorder warning sign for people following it avidly instead of eating well and exercising. Remember: you don't need to eat or drink non-appetizing foods to lose weight.

2. Garlic Up the Nose

Raw garlic is known for fighting off colds, but sticking a clove of garlic up your nose is a no-go. TikTokers have been doing it, claiming it will clear up your congestion. However, what's happening is the garlic is stimulating mucus production by irritating the mucous membrane that lines the nose — probably not what you're going for when you already have the sniffles! Instead, eat a clove of raw garlic to benefit from its immune-boosting qualities. If the taste is too much, you can also get the benefits by taking raw garlic powder or extract. 

3. Liquid Chlorophyll 

Adding liquid chlorophyll drops to your drinking water is a TikTok trend for detox and weight loss. Chlorophyll is the chemical pigment that makes plants green. Involved in the process of photosynthesis, chlorophyll is found in any leafy green foods, as well as in seaweeds and tea. Synthetic chlorophyll is registered as a food additive colorant called E140. While chlorophyll helps plants collect light from the sun, there's no evidence suggesting the pigment helps human health when taken in its isolated form.

4. Dry Scooping Protein Powder

It's unclear why people are doing this, but they are. Of course, scooping dry protein powder directly into your mouth could lead to a disastrous failure to actually ingest it. Protein powder is designed to be mixed with liquid, and it won't go down easily when it's dry. Without diluting the nutrients in your protein powder, you could jolt your system instead of assimilating ingredients and reaping their benefits. Plus, if you take more than directed on the label, especially without enough fluid intake, you could suffer some side effects.

5. Chia Seeds for Weight Loss

When soaked in liquid, chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight. Some TikTokkers making chia seed drinks say they help with weight loss. However, there's no fat-burning quality to chia seeds. They don't shed water weight, either. What they can do is help you go to the bathroom. Too many chia seeds will have you going to the bathroom too often. The verdict? No benefits for weight loss, but chia seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber. They also have protein and minerals, so there's no harm in adding a teaspoon to a tablespoon of chia seeds into a drink each day.

6. Weighted Hula Hoop for Weight Loss

If you've been on TikTok, you've probably seen a video at some point of someone using a weighted hula hoop. The trend is to twist the device around your hips 10 to 30 minutes a day to reduce belly fat and slim your hips. The weighted hula hoop is basically a heavier version of the traditional hula hoop, but some users claim that the weighted hula hoop can cause abdominal pain and bruises

Effective core strength training must include a variety of exercises instead of one repetitive movement — which could lead to repetitive motion injury. You can't spot-reduce fat. The best way to maximize fat burning is to target all your large muscle groups with different exercises specific to them.

Don't put any more than 2 pounds on a weighted hula hoop to avoid muscle strain, and avoid this equipment altogether if you have a history of back pain or back injury. 

7. Drinking Baking Soda in Water

Some TikTokers will tell you to mix 1/4 or 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water as a natural remedy for stomach ailments like heartburn or bloating, or even to alkalize the body. While it won't hurt once in a while, baking soda shouldn't be consumed often or regularly. It's not a food or a nutrient  just a chemical! 

Since baking soda is harshly alkaline, it actually causes your body to react by producing more acid in the long term. Of course, this only worsens problems like acid reflux and indigestion. The best action is to find the root cause of a digestive ailment so you can eliminate problem foods or lifestyle habits causing them. You can also add fibrous and fermented foods to your diet for gut balance, and eat greens to alkalize your blood naturally. 

Debunked TikTok Health Trends

Just because a health video goes viral doesn't mean the advice is safe or effective. Fitness and weight loss challenges can be effective, partly because it's easier to get inspired and motivated by seeing others' results. To make your efforts worth it, be sure to do your research before you commit. There are plenty of reliable alternative resources for fitness and wellness advice you can turn to.  When scrolling through TikTok, keep in mind that social media apps promote trends, not facts.

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