Troubling Trends – 5 of the Worst Health & Wellness Trends of the 21st Century

While the 21st century came hand-in-hand with the body positivity movement, that doesn’t mean we said farewell to our collective habit of getting involved in troubling health and wellness trends. While it’s easy to be critical of these crazy fads in hindsight, we can hardly be blamed for getting sucked into them. After all, we’re told fat free milk is brilliant one year and dreadful the next, eggs are good for you, then bad for you, then good for you again. It’s impossible to keep up. 

The one thing we can tell you is that the following five trends are terrible through and through. 

Influencers telling us how to live

Perhaps that title should be “influencers selling us how to live.” In the early days of YouTube, the glimpses we got into the lives of soon-to-be influencers were relatively genuine. Without sponsorships, the advice they shared and the products they recommended were sincere. However, with the rise of #sponcon came more and more ridiculous health trends, including tea-toxes, weight loss shakes, strange and unnecessary workout contraptions, and the obsessive need to optimize everything. 

These trends are perhaps the most insidious because they combine bad advice with ineffective products, unnecessary consumerism, and a daily sense of dissatisfaction with life because it’s never as “optimized” as it should be. Worst of all, many of these influencers lack the qualifications needed to be offering health advice. In short, steer clear. 

Putting activated charcoal in food

While it may be cute to have midnight-colored ice cream or a burger on a black bun, eating foods “enhanced” with activated charcoal is doing you no good. In fact, it can be harmful. Activated charcoal is effective at preventing absorption if you accidentally swallow something harmful or drink too much. However, when added to your food, that same superpower can work against you by stopping your body from absorbing vitamins and minerals. 

healthy diet

Anything sold by MLMs

While essential oils can be a sweet-smelling addition to your home, those sold by MLMs are inherently problematic. The same goes for fitness gear, vitamins, skin products, and every other health fad the multi-level marketing industry has spread into. 

The only thing setting the MLM model apart from an illegal pyramid scheme is the fact that it includes the sale of products. That’s it. Yet, at many gatherings, MLM members are told that the real money lies in recruiting new members and building your downline, not in selling the (overpriced) products. 

Vaping (when you never smoked)

Vaping hasn’t been around for long enough for us to have a strong read on its long-term health implications. It may well be a better alternative to smoking for those who are addicted to nicotine. However, with the rise of candy-flavored vapes came a trend of people who never smoked (including minors) taking up the habit. 

Waist “trainers”

A waist trainer is a support garment that compresses your abdominal area, making you look and feel tight and sucked-in. This has a psychological effect, making you feel like it’s really doing something. So, when proponents claim that it somehow melts fat from your stomach or helps you strengthen your core, you’d be forgiven for believing them. 

The thing is, anything that supports your core for you isn’t strengthening it. If anything, it’s making you weaker. Assisted pull-ups are easier than trying to heave your full weight up yourself, right? If you want a strong core, there’s nothing for it but to put in the work. 

Here’s hoping the trends above are left to wither as we venture deeper into the 2020s. 

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