3 Facts You Should Consider If You Follow Trends

Written by

Deborah Freudenmann BHSc

As a society, we’ve turned most things into a trend and this includes HEALTH. The modern trend of “being healthy” is often an expensive endeavour, time consuming, misleading and frequently changing. I think it’s great to be actively involved in your own health, to set realistic goals however getting too tied up in what’s popular right now can be exhausting and dangerous for your health.

So, why is it important to tell the difference between a trend and what can actually improve your health status?

1. Your Body Is Unique

We are all biologically and genetically unique and we are all impacted by a myriad and diverse range of life experiences and exposures. Two individuals can suffer similar life obstacles such as – trauma as a child, or exposure to something toxic at work – yet respond distinctly different from one another. The same applies to a new diet for example – one individual will feel amazing and the other will feel worse than before.

Whatever the trend is, you’ll hear about all the benefits, so much hype, the influencer you love does it and they seem to be happy and healthy. Yet the one relevant question doesn’t get asked. Is it right for YOU?

Another question we should ask is does it really work for them or are they just paid to say so? Many of these images are photoshopped or the influencers are actually unwell but hide this from the public. Never take a snapshot and think it’s reality. Health is a process and not an event.

Let’s look at intermittent fasting for a moment. Intermittent fasting, also known as time-restricted eating or cyclic fasting, simply means eating at certain times and allowing the body to rest for 12-18 hours. Among it’s benefits, studies show that correctly executed intermittent fasting diets can support healthy immune function, improve insulin levels and insulin resistance, improve blood glucose levels, stabilise cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, normalise hormones such as leptin – a hormone which decreases your appetite… sounds to good to be true!

Well, it might be. Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone as fasting can actually cause too much stress on your body, which in turn may lower thyroid functioning, cause leptin resistance or overstimulate cortisol. For some of you it might be the ideal solution and for others it can be the cause of disease.

While there isn’t usually any harm in trying out new things, you need to be conscious and observant on how your body responds. What might work for someone could cause more harm for yourself.

2. Are You Obsessing Over Health?

Often there is a fine line between healthy living and obsessive living. If you find yourself focusing on everything that goes on your plate, calculating how many calories your meal has or how often you are hitting the gym, it’s time for an intervention. The same applies to treatments or supplements – are we obsessed with doing every treatment under the sun? That is the very definition of unhealthy.

This is unfortunately a huge issue with our social media platforms, influencers, marketing products or treatments which promote often unhealthy trends and “selling” unrealistic expectations or “cures”. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some amazing influencers and companies out there which don’t promote unhealthy trends unfortunately is not the norm.

Disease or ill health is not caused by one thing – but by a multitude of compounding factors which lead to the development of disease. Thus, it cannot be fixed by just one hot trendy diet, supplement or lifestyle choice. This is why functional medicine focuses on addressing all the root causes which allows for true change.

3. Where Did You Get Your Facts From?

When you hear about a wellness trend, whether that’s a product, a diet or a lifestyle trend, the first thing you should ask is…. What does the research say?

Let’s look at a few examples… Chances are you’ve seen or heard about frequency devices. There is a product which hit the markets recently and it’s become quite the hit. This product uses specific micro current frequencies to influence cellular functioning…

A product designed to:

  • Make you feel balanced and fit
  • Help you regain emotional and mental balance
  • Promote better sleep and relaxation
  • Balance disturbances in your energy field
  • Energetically supports your external and internal beauty
  • Support skin health
  • Promote vitality and wellbeing
  • Better resistance to stress
  • Help you achieve athletic goals
  • Assist in focus
  • Help to promote meridian flow
  • Activate your chakras

 

Yet, they have no idea how each frequency influences our body. Our body and every cell changes frequencies all the time to adjust to outer circumstances, stress, oxygen and nutrient levels as well as workload. In addition, no one can measure exactly how and when frequencies are up or down regulating. Even though this device is untested, and has not been proven to have any reproducible effect by an independent study it is sold based on a clever marketing campaign.

Does it harm? Probably not. Will it achieve all the listed benefits? Probably not.

Surely you’ve also witnessed Instagram “influencers” promoting detox teas, claiming they’ll help you loose that stubborn weight and give you a flat stomach. Feeling tempted? I mean after all, tea is healthy for you… unfortunately not all teas are.

The ever growing trend for “detox” products also present with a sinister side as their long-term health effects are questionable. Many of them not only bind to heavy metals and toxins but also to minerals and essential fatty acids which are flushed out in excess without being replenished. Another issue is that these products often contain laxatives and diuretics.

Laxatives, cause your bowels to open and diuretics make you urinate excessively. Detox teas that combine caffeine with diuretics can trigger the loss of water weight. So loosing water weight can make you look and feel thinner or lighter even though you haven’t lost any body fat. Detox teas can also trigger a laxative effect, which causes you body to eliminate waste from your gastrointestinal another way getting that temporary “weight loss”.

 

Often detox concoctions typically include herbs which are designed to “assist” by curbing your appetite, speeding up your metabolism or boosting weight loss in other ways. For example, a commonly used one is Senna, a plant with natural laxative effects.

According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, the potential side effects of senna use may include:

  • Abdominal pain & discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea

 

In severe cases of excessive use:

  • Potassium depletion
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Muscle spasms
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

 

Most detox teas contain caffeine, probably because this stimulant may suppress appetite, trigger your digestive system to let go of waste, and help you reduce your water weight. 

However, too much caffeine can also be risky and interfere with getting enough sleep. This can ultimately start a vicious cycle, as catching too few hours of sleep may undo the tea’s weight loss effects. In fact, too little sleep has been shown to trigger excessive eating, weight gain as well as slow down your metabolism.

What about high intensity interval training (HIIT)?

It’s become quite a popular workout choice. If you don’t know, HIIT is a workout that alternates between intense bursts of energy with periods of less intense energy output or periods of rest. HIIT is often marketed as an efficient way to achieve weight loss.

Studies have shown numerous benefits to this workout such as increased metabolism, improved cardiovascular health, improved muscle tone, weight loss… easy, efficient and above all can be done anywhere! Sounds pretty great huh? However, is it beneficial for everyone to jump on the HIIT wagon or are there some individuals where this workout might be harmful?

Well, intense exercise such as HIIT can actually put additional stress on your adrenal function. Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands under conditions of high mental and physical stress.

Such health issues include gaining weight, depression, digestive complaints, chronic fatigue, issues with sleep and brain fog. It has been shown in studies that excess cortisol can stimulate fat gain and cause poorer sleep quality and quantity.

Cortisol dysregulation can also affect thyroid function, suppressing the release of active thyroid hormone. Elevated levels of cortisol can lead to conditions such as hypothyroidism. This can cause depression, weight gain, and digestive dysfunction along with a variety of other symptoms. Essentially, an individual who started HIIT for weight loss may actually end up gaining weight which is counterintuitive to the original goal. 

The Bottom Line?

As a general rule, always evaluate wellness trends on a case by case basis. Do your own research before you jump onto the bandwagon. Is it the right choice for you? Will it benefit your health or cause more harm than good? Will it make any changes at all?

Remember that everything needs to be evaluated individually. You are an amazing and unique human being and what can benefit your health is not found in a one size fits all package. This is why we are so passionate about functional medicine and our TRULY HEAL Functional Medicine Health Coaching course.

When you suffer from a disease this is the body telling us it is not in homeostasis but imbalanced. It is a wake up call to fix an underlying problem that went on for too long. If you address and remove the underlying causes whether that’s gut health, inflammation, toxins, infections, hypoxia, deficiencies and/or stress… and commit to changing your environment YOU CAN TRULY HEAL.

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