We’re never short of health or diet tips. Every week there’s a new diet to try or a new health and fitness routine being advertised somewhere, and the problem has got worse ever since Instagram influencers became a thing. Social media personalities aren’t shy about taking money to sell you ‘their’ fitness tips, and not all of their advice is worth listening to. More often than not, none of it is worth listening to at all.
We all know that the secret to a healthy lifestyle and a body we can be proud of is hard work and dedication, and there aren’t any shortcuts. Despite that, even the most cynical of us can sometimes be tempted into following a fad when it first appears because the rewards look so convincing. The problem comes when we don’t know we’re following a fad, and we carry on with a routine long after the point when its proclaimed benefits are disproven.
An important thing to remember with we’re looking at diet advice is that correlation does not mean causation. Just because something – losing weight, for example – happens when we follow a diet doesn’t mean that the diet we’re following is responsible for the weight loss. All too often, health fads turn into online slots games that we play with our food intake instead of our money. If you won money the first few times you played slots UK online, you could easily fool yourself into thinking it happened every time you played, but we all know that isn’t the case. Online slots don’t carry on paying out forever no matter how lucky you are, and the health benefits of some fad diets and regimes don’t continue for the long term either. If you’re still following any of the fads we’re about to mention, it’s time to stop!
The Purple Diet
If you’ve never heard of this one, consider yourself lucky. It briefly went viral on the internet a few years ago when Mariah Carey credited it with her weight loss. The idea is simple enough – you only eat foods that are purple. That gives you a surprisingly wide range of choices from plums through to cabbage, but it can’t replace a balanced meal. A food type isn’t good for you just because it’s purple. Nor is a food bad for you just because it isn’t purple. This is far too simplistic a way of categorizing food, and it can lead to problems if you cut other necessary foodstuffs out of your diet because it doesn’t suit your color preferences. You’ll find it especially difficult to take on whole grain or proteins, and so while you might lose weight, you’ll also find yourself steadily becoming weaker.
Thankfully, we’re several years down the line from that troubling point in time where seemingly every celebrity you could think of was touting colonic irrigation as a miracle cure from everything from excess weight to serious health conditions. Gwyneth Paltrow recommended a particularly troubling ‘colonic cleanse’ that involved caffeine. We don’t know who needs to hear this, but please don’t introduce caffeine to that part of your anatomy. It’s not where it’s supposed to go. Here’s the cold, hard fact that celebrities don’t want you to know – there’s no evidence whatsoever that colonic irrigation or colonic cleansing leads to weight loss. Not one single shred. If anything, processes like this can strip healthy bacteria out of your gut and make you ill. Hydration is always good for you, but the best way to stay hydrated is to drink water – not to feed it into yourself through a hose.
For a few weird months in 2016, black pudding was being touted as a superfood. We don’t know who came up with that idea, or why they did it. Perhaps it was a practical joke that went too far. Whatever the reason, it’s total nonsense. The supposedly-scientific theory behind black pudding being good for you is that it’s basically made of blood. Blood contains iron, and haem iron is a particularly well-absorbed form of dietary iron. Eat enough black pudding, and allegedly you’d never become anemic. Whatever the benefits of iron might be, black pudding is also extremely high in salt content and also counts as processed meat. Whatever else it might be introducing into your blood, your body won’t thank you for the salt.
The Alkaline Diet
We can also thank Gwyneth Paltrow for this one, although she got some help from Victoria Beckham and other celebrities. The whole premise of following the alkaline diet is that illnesses can be caused by the acidity of their blood, and so eating high-alkaline foods can balance that acidity out and leave you less prone to illnesses as a result. Aside from making you ill, a high blood acid level could also apparently lead to bloating and weight gain. This is every bit as implausible and nonsensical as it sounds. The food you eat doesn’t alter the pH level of your blood in any way whatsoever. That just isn’t the way the body works. More to the point, the pH level of your blood will only swing toward acid or alkaline if you’re very seriously ill. Under normal circumstances, excess acid or alkaline will be excreted by your body if it isn’t needed. All those supposedly ‘healthy’ alkaline products you’re eating are just going straight through your system and coming back out again, without doing you any good on the way through.
We’re all guilty of listening to bad advice on occasion, and so you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much if you’re still following any of the fads that we’ve described here. The most important thing is that you’ve managed to avoid becoming ill while following the fad – and so now it’s time to ditch it and start following more sensible advice! Stay in the gym, eat the food types which you know for sure are good for you, and you’ll take a step closer to your ideal body every day. Leave the short-term fixes behind you, and always take celebrity advice with a pinch of salt. They’re not scientists!