These Viral 2018 Health Trends Were Honestly Kind Of Sus, So Thank You, Next
"Have you tried celery juice yet?" a friend asked me the other day (I hadn't). She then proceeded to tell me that, if you drink celery juice on an empty stomach, it can help your body "fully detox" — whatever the heck that's supposed to mean. Look, unless I can chase that glass of celery juice with like, five shots of ranch dressing, that trend is not for me. This is just one of many viral 2018 health trends that made my eyes roll so far back into my head, I almost lost my vision. Let's explore some of the others, shall we?
First of all, 2018 was a trip, to say the least. Aside from our unsavory president, the baffling consumption of Tide Pods, and an apparent attempt by romaine lettuce to wipe out the human population, there were a slew of wellness trends that were mildly questionable, and honestly, pretty sus.
According to Crystal Savoy, MS, RD, LDN, a non-diet dietitian at Real Life Women's Health, some people have grown "so afraid of food" that they now think the more out-there health trends (remember raw water? #TBT) are actually worth trying. "[Some people] think these 'wellness trends' are good for us and prolong health, when they actually do the complete opposite," she tells Elite Daily in an email.
Having said that, don't feel bad if you got caught up in any of these trends yourself in 2018 — we all fall for 'em sometimes. But knowledge is power, and I, for one, think it's time to declare a collective "Thank U, Next" and leave these five viral health trends in 2018, where they belong.
The Ketogenic Diet (aka "Keto")
According to Lyle, there are real clinical uses for keto, specifically in children and adults with epilepsy who don’t respond to medication. But as a healthy diet for the general public? It's probably best to pass, she says. "The keto diet is very high in fat (80 percent or more of calories), moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates (followers recommend 40 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per day)," she explains. "The end result is a highly restrictive diet that removes many otherwise healthy foods."
And honestly, what's up with the demonization of carbs in the first place? According to Savoy, the human body needs glucose (which comes from carbohydrates) as a primary source of fuel. "You might hear that this isn't true because technically, our bodies can use ketones [for energy] — if we are in a state of starvation," Savoy tells Elite Daily. "But that doesn't mean we should be putting our bodies into starvation mode for any reason."
Plus, when your body's in that "starvation mode," Lyle explains, things can start to malfunction pretty quickly. "There’s the potential risk for kidney damage, particularly in those who already have compromised function, along with constipation, and micronutrient deficiencies, [to name a few negative side effects]," she tells Elite Daily.
I'm not quite sure how or when exactly it happened, but at some point in 2018, celery stopped being a tasteless vehicle for ranch dressing, and, seemingly overnight, made its metamorphosis into an overhyped superfood. Weird flex, but OK.
"No, drinking a bitter cocktail of pure celery in the morning will not propel you to realize your wildest health dreams," Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, tells Elite Daily. "It will not 'detox' your organs, which are already doing so quite well on account of your natural physiology and anatomy."
Moreno acknowledges that celery is, indeed, a nutritious vegetable, but juicing it, she says, loses the satisfaction factor of actually chewing the food, not to mention it compromises the vegetable's overall fiber content.
Look, it's not harmful to drink celery juice if that's what you're into, says Moreno, but according to the nutrition consultant, there's no magical health benefit to juicing any food, celery included.
"I’m pretty sure, if you put soap on your foods, you’ll get sick," Jaclyn DiGregorio, founder of the wellness brand Cusp It, bestselling author of the book The Cusp Method, and a speaker on eating disorder awareness, cheekily tells Elite Daily in an email.
All jokes aside, though, the "clean" eating trend has gotten a little out of hand, according to Lyle, and here's why: "The implication that some eating patterns are ‘cleaner’ puts your choice of afternoon snack on par with a moral decision," she says. "The mental trap of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods is part of the pattern in people who exhibit disordered eating or who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder."
Rachel Fine MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, a registered dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, agrees, adding that "clean" eating can quickly turn dangerous when it becomes something you obsess over. "While the idea of 'clean eating' stems from a place of wanting to consume a 'healthy,' minimally processed diet, it dangerously masks the potential for the development of orthorexia," Fine explains.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), orthorexia refers to "an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating," to the point where the person grows "so fixated on so-called ‘healthy eating’ that they actually damage their own well-being." Because orthorexia, as of right now, isn't formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as per NEDA, it's hard to estimate how many people struggle with the condition, though the organization notes that it may be linked in some way to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
"The obsession with healthy eating creates a restrictive landscape where its followers cannot enjoy food for what it should be: a cultural and social aspect of life," Fine explains. "Some view 'clean' eating as an obsession [with] 'pure' foods or 'perfect' foods. However, 'perfection' is an unattainable measure of diet and heath. Therefore, striving for this can leave one quite isolated and far from healthy."
Of course, as DiGregorio points out, not everyone who experiments with "clean" eating necessarily has orthorexic tendencies, but, she explains, in general, consistently restricting your body from the foods it craves isn't a healthy way to live.
Though fasting has its place in certain spiritual and religious contexts, you've probably noticed that it's emerged as a mainstream trend, too. According to Healthline, water fasting is basically exactly what it sounds like: "a type of fast that restricts everything except water."
"This is just ridiculous," says Savoy. "I can't think of any reason to do a water fast." According to the dietitian, when you restrict the foods you eat in any way, your body is almost certainly not going to like it or respond well. "Again, if our bodies think we are at risk for dying (which is always the case when we restrict), our metabolism slows down," Savoy explains. "Not to mention, if you are only drinking water, you're missing out on vitamins and minerals your body literally needs to survive."
Nowadays, it feels like every time I log onto Instagram, some wellness influencer is running an ad for some new trendy supplement brand. That's cool, and certain products have their place and purpose sometimes, but here's the thing: According to Fine, supplements are not a well-regulated industry. "This makes it difficult to ensure the safety of supplements and reliability of listed ingredients," she explains.
That being said, Fine adds that sometimes supplements can be useful to fill in certain “gaps” if your diet is a bit lacking in specific nutrients. But, she tells Elite Daily, "the only supplements I tend to recommend are a daily multivitamin, calcium/vitamin D, and iron."
Bottom line: Talk to your doctor if you feel like you might need to start taking a supplement of some kind. Overall, it's best to get your health advice straight from an expert source, as opposed to your favorite social media influencer.