4 Wellness Trends You Should Be Wary Of
Happy and healthy are big businesses.
Ever since humans figured out that we have thoughts in our brains, we’ve been trying to find ways to make ourselves feel better, look better and seem better to others. But at what cost?
Currently, staying healthy is costing the average Australia $2,830 each year. But reports indicate that this will increase to $6,460 by 2055. Why? Because we love absolutely love a wellness trend, and we’re happy to buy what people are selling.
Investing in your health is something we encourage. Especially if it’s your mental health. But there’s a difference between splashing out on more fruit and veg and accidentally signing up to a multi-level marketing scheme.
These are the wellness trends we’re giving you permission to stay a little sceptical about:
Oils that aren’t so essential
Essential oils are having a moment right now. It seems that every person is diffusing them, selling them or preaching about them. If you happen to have a little underlying scepticism about their claims, you’re not alone. And frankly, you’re on to something.
Speaking to Time Magazine, Dr. Edzard Ernst from the University of Exeter says, “Aromatherapists claim that specific oils have specific health effects. This, in my view, is little more than wishful thinking.” Dr Ernst has conducted two separate peer-reviewed studies on the health benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils, and both returned inconclusively.
He explained that placebo plays a huge part in people believing the health benefits but the actual evidence is severely lacking. Essential oils do nothing except smell very nice.
There are some studies that show using essential oils can help to alleviate stress and anxiety when used in conjunction with practices like meditation and massages. But these studies also admit that those practices are already healing, and a nice smelling mist is just adding to that experience.
Essential oils aren’t necessarily bad for you, they just don’t do what they say. If you find that diffusing oils while you’re meditating calms you down, or you like to spray them on your kitchen counter, you can go right ahead.
Where essential oils are getting dangerous though, is in the multi-level marketing schemes that come along with them. Be wary of who is selling to you and what they get from it. Also, do plenty of research before swapping it out for actual medicine.
Sugar by any other name
Is just as sweet. And just as bad for you.
Quitting sugar is the wellness trend that has strong merit. With growing reports that scientists were paid off by big corporations in the 1960s to promote sugar as a harmless substitute to fat, we’re only now realising that we’ve been royally swindled.
“Low fat” claims have for years convinced us that what we’re eating isn’t so bad, when the hidden sugars mean that it is.
But now we’re cottoning on to the fact that excess sugar consumption is bad for us, we need to be extra careful about what does and doesn’t constitute the sweet stuff. Just because it’s organic, or natural, doesn’t mean it’s any better than the white stuff in the bakery aisle.
According to the people at Well Naturally, here are 61 sugar ‘alternatives’ that are actually just sugar. Deep breath and here we go: Agave nectar, Barbados sugar, Barley malt, Barley malt syrup, Beet sugar, Brown sugar, Buttered syrup, Cane juice, Cane juice crystals, Cane sugar, Caramel, Carob syrup, Castor sugar, Coconut palm sugar, Coconut sugar, Confectioner’s sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Date sugar, Dehydrated cane juice, Demerara sugar, Dextrin, Dextrose, Evaporated cane juice, Free-flowing brown sugars, Fructose, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Glucose, Glucose solids, Golden sugar, Golden syrup, Grape sugar, HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup), Honey, Icing sugar, Invert sugar, Malt syrup, Maltodextrin, Maltol, Maltose, Mannose, Maple syrup, Molasses, Muscovado, Palm sugar, Panocha, Powdered sugar, Raw sugar, Refiner’s syrup, Rice syrup, Saccharose, Sorghum Syrup, Sucrose, Sugar (granulated), Sweet Sorghum, Syrup, Treacle, Turbinado sugar and Yellow sugar. Phew!
Look, if you skimmed right over all of that we don’t blame you. It’s a lot of information and you probably get the point. If you’re spending enormous amounts of money on coconut sugar or carob syrup because you’ve been led to believe it’s better for you, it’s not.
If you’re going to have sugar, just have the regular kind without the wellness pricetag. Have it in moderation and you’ll be completely fine.
Things that are activated
There have been claims that activated charcoal offers an effective way to clean out the “everyday toxins” in your body. And while this is technically true, it’s not the entire story.
Activated charcoal has been used by doctors for hundreds of years as a way of preventing harmful drugs from being absorbed into the system. It has been proven to alleviate the impact of overdose from anti-depressants, aspirin, asthma medication and heart disease medication. Ingesting activated charcoal will kill foreign toxins from the body, but it’s not much use to perfectly healthy humans.
In fact, consuming it while you’re on medication could decrease the impact of the medicine and lead to harm. So we’d recommend to stay away and leave the charcoal the professionals.
Oh and speaking of “activated”, nuts don’t need to be. They’ll still provide just as many nutrients if you leave them unsoaked. Score!
Big ol’ germ drinks
Yes, we’re talking about Kombucha.
Kombucha is a mixture of SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), sugar and tea that is left to ferment for 7-10 days. Look, it’s an acquired taste but because of its extreme trendiness, quite a few people have taken a liking. And it’s spawned many kombucha type bottled drinks.
The drink claims to aid with digestion, weight loss, your immune system and assist in improving your gut bacteria but unfortunately, there are no peer-reviewed studies that support these claims. Not one. To date, there are 77 articles that have been conducted on kombucha, but not one of them has had conclusive results that apply to humans (one has been conducted on rats).
In fact, Healthy But Smart reports there have been two cases of severe illness (one resulting in death) that have been linked to kombucha. As Professor of Nutrition at Deakin University, Tim Crowe says, “So far no clinical trials have been published in humans. Considering its boutique price premium, unless you plan to make your own, I would be looking elsewhere for my probiotic hit.”
Stick with yoghurt, kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut for now. Those bad babies will do a much better job, and taste better too.
Just trust your gut on these things and do your research, and you’ll figure out what works best for you. These are just our humble (research-backed) opinions. *sips tea*