More than 7 out of 10 adults who made New Year’s resolutions in 2019 vowed to eat healthier, and over half of adults planned to lose weight. A lot of us also hoped to quit smoking and reduce our alcohol consumption, too.
But health goals aren’t limited to New Year’s Eve resolutions, and many of us strive to make better lifestyle choices throughout the year. Unfortunately, some of our good intentions lead to dangerous ventures that jeopardize — rather than improve — our well-being. From juicing to vaping, here are four popular trends that may actually make your health worse.
1. Going Gluten Free With GF Packaged Foods
Gluten consumption has real risks for many adults and kids. Some people are sensitive to wheat and develop many negative health conditions, while others experience everything from thyroid issues to severe pain and gastrointestinal issues due to Celiac disease.
While it’s true that patients with gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant conditions benefit from eliminating gluten, you could also develop some issues if substitute the wrong foods and/or you eliminate it without increasing your folate levels from an additional source.
It must be noted that gluten-free food products, such as baked goods and prepackaged foods, also tend to be higher in sugar, carbs, fat and salt which bring their own set of health challenges.
If you decide to go gluten free, it’s best to stick to as many fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and lean proteins as possible and avoid packed foods. Do keep an eye on the scale. You’ll be pleasantly surprised if you go the fresh food route rather than reaching for pre-prepared gluten-free foods that contain many higher carbs than you’d expect.
2. Replacing Smoking With Vaping
A lit cigarette releases more than 7,000 chemicals, and smoke can also turn your teeth and nails yellow. Smoking-related issues claim the lives of more than 480,000 adults each year. Some people attempt to avoid these issues by replacing cigarettes with e-cigs, also known as vapes. While this may seem like a smart replacement, the truth is that vaping still has a lot of risks.
Many electronic cigarettes contain toxins that have been linked to asthma, inflammation and decreased lung function. Just like cigarettes, puffing on a vape may cause lung disease or even lead to cancer. Keep an eye on your health if you decide to take up vaping, and try to limit long-term use of electronic cigarettes. You might also consider talking to your doctor about other alternatives to help you quit smoking.
3. Eliminating Solid Food During a Juice Cleanse
Reducing calories during a juice cleanse may help you drop a few unwanted pounds, but not necessarily in a safe way. In fact, you may even gain weight due to the high sugar content of many juices. Even if you temporarily lose weight during a juice cleanse due to reduced calorie intake, the weight will come back on once you resume a regular diet. In addition, a juice cleanse may put you at risk for kidney stones, fainting and dehydration.
Although juice cleanses can be risky, juice itself can offer several benefits, including boosting your immune system and improving digestion. Instead of replacing every meal with juice, consider having a smoothie for breakfast instead of a stack of pancakes or a pack of donuts, or sip a small cup of juice instead of having fresh fruit for a snack.
4. Using Coconut Oil for Everything
Coconut oil consumption has become increasingly popular, especially with the rise of keto and paleo diets. It’s thought to offer numerous health benefits, but coconut oil also increases your risk of developing heart disease. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should eliminate it from your diet completely; it just means you should be mindful of how much you consume.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat consumption to 5% or 6% of your daily meals, which amounts to around 13 grams for an adult on a 2000-calorie diet. You can easily exceed that if you’re dropping dollops of coconut oil into smoothies, brownie batter, stir-fried veggies or coffee.
It’s often difficult to navigate the health fads that dominate social media these days. You may see friends losing weight on juice cleanses or kicking their nicotine habit with e-cigs, but remember that there are still risks associated with all of these seemingly healthy habits. If something seems like an easy fix for a health-related concern, be sure to run it by your doctor first.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
Copyright 2019, WellnessPursuits.com