10 Health Fads You Should Ignore But Probably Don’t

1/8/14 12:43PM EST

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Fad diets and health products come and go, and it’s hard to tell what’s actually healthy and what’s just good marketing. Here are 10 health fads that have been popular in recent years despite showing no actual health benefits.

1. Juice Cleanses

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Juicing is all the rage in Hollywood lately. The pro is that you’re almost guaranteed to get your daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. The cons: you’ll go broke, you won’t get a lot of necessary nutrients, and you’ll probably regain any weight you lost as soon as you resume eating.

2. Tapeworm Diet

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Experts have known for decades that tapeworms are dangerous and sometimes deadly, but that hasn’t stopped the most desperate people from purposely eating the parasites. This method is illegal and extremely dangerous.

3. Gluten-Free

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Some people think a gluten-free diet is healthier, perhaps because we’ve all been told carbs are bad for the waistline. In reality, experts say you shouldn’t follow a gluten-free diet unless you have a medical reason to do so, like celiac disease or a diagnosed gluten sensitivity. Cutting out gluten for a perceived health benefit can actually rob you of important nutrients.

4. Eating One Type Of Food

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There are plenty of these fad diets to choose from: baby food diet, cabbage soup diet, potato diet. They all restrict your food to just a few different foods, meaning you’ll be left with a major lack of nutrients and a lot of cravings.

5. Fat Free Food

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Fat-free foods can do more harm than good when it comes to a diet. Manufacturers often make up for the lack of fat with other ingredients like sugar. So fat-free foods often have extra calories. Additionally, the “fat-free” label may lull you into a false sense of security, and you may wind up overindulging.

6. Diet Soda

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Diet soda can cause a slew of problems. The artificial sweeteners trick your body into wanting real sugar, and you’re more likely to overeat. Diet soda can also ruin your metabolism, cause kidney problems and harm your teeth.

7. Fast Food Salads

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So you’re on the run but you want to stick to healthy foods. You decide to go through the nearest drive-through for a salad. That can’t be unhealthy, right? Actually, a salad from a fast food chain can have as much as 800 calories and more than 50 grams of fat.

8. Filtered Water

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In most cases, tap water is just fine. It has to meet certain standards by law, and if you’re worried about it, you can always pick up a testing kit and test your tap water. Filtered and bottled water isn’t really necessary. It’s bad for the environment and bad for your wallet.

9. hCG Diet

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This is the newest big weight loss craze. People get injections of hCG, a hormone naturally made during pregnancy, and pair it with an ultra-low-calorie diet. Experts say the low-calorie part will help you lose weight, and that the hormone has nothing to do with it. They add that overly limiting your calories, as this diet calls for, is unhealthy because it won’t give you enough nutrients and will leave you feeling tired and hungry.

10. Acai Berries

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The acai berry has been touted to help with everything from weight loss to preventing Alzheimer’s. While some studies show acai berries are high in antioxidants, other studies on the subject are inconclusive. As for the berry’s other claims, “acai berries have no known health benefit that’s any different than that of other similar fruits.”

 
 

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