There are tonnes of “health fads” out there at the moment – many of which are being widely recommended on TikTok or by high-profile celebrities.

You may have even come across some of these yourselves – however, there is plenty of misinformation out there, so we wanted to find out more about these “trends”, including whether they are a good idea or should be avoided, and a top-level reason for why (or what you’d need to know).

To get expert advice into a few of the popular dietary trends currently on our radar, we questioned Dr Asif Munaf. We also spoke to Dr Baldeep Farmah at Dr Aesthetica about various aesthetic trends, and Joe Mitton, personal trainer and owner of MittFit, about a few exercise trends. Read on to find out more…

Please note – it is important to speak to a medical professional before undertaking any kind of dietary or lifestyle change.This article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and should not replace the relationship that exists between a patient and their existing healthcare provider.

Dietary trends

Keto diet - #keto has 3.6B views on TikTok

Dr Munaf explains that “keto diet has great potential benefits including weight loss and improved sugar control if used correctly. Most people don't truly achieve ketosis as they inadvertently consume carbs through starchy vegetables. A ketogenic diet can result in reduced mood and libido”.

Detoxing - #detox has 626.6M views on TikTok

Dr Munaf revealed that detoxing is “more of a band-aid than drivers of substantial change. Most detoxes are fads unless supplemented with lasting habits”. 

Fasting until 11am every day - #fasting has 330.7M views on TikTok

According to Dr Munaf, “time-restricted feeding as part of intermittent fasting can be hugely beneficial not only for weight loss but a multitude of health benefits including improving cognition as well as better gut and heart health”.

Skinny tea - #weightlosstea has 5.5M views on TikTok

Dr Munaf calls skinny tea “a total fad. You are better off drinking black tea as part of your time restricted eating”. 

Metabolism drops - #metabolismdrops has 506K views on TikTok

Dr Munaf warns that metabolism drops are “unproven, unregulated and can be potentially dangerous - avoid!”.

Aesthetic trends

Using a raw potato to treat acne - #acne has 7.2B views on TikTok

Dr Farmah tells us that “potatoes can help the skin in many ways. The starch in potatoes soothes inflammation and absorbs oil. Second, potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, which can help to minimise the risks of developing dark spots as the spot resolves. Potatoes also have a high salicyclic acid content in them. However, in no way does a potato replace traditional acne products and treatments. There are perfectly good, safe, and relatively inexpensive products which are formulated for your skin”.

Aspirin face mask to treat acne - #facemask has 3.5B views on TikTok

Dr Farmah warns that “aspirin is used as an analgesic for pain relief, and has evolved to treat a wide range of inflammatory conditions. Aspirin contains acetylsalicylic acid, a synthetic derivative of salicyclic acid. Salicylic acid is a popular topical medication for acne. The two are not the same, and while acetylsalicylic acid can reduce inflammation, it shouldn’t be used on your face. Acetylsalicylic acid is simply too harsh for your skin. It can be irritating, lead to redness, dryness and flaking of the skin. This can make our skin more sensitive and should be avoided”.

DIY mole removal - #moleremoval has 154.3M views on TikTok

Dr Farmah explains that DIY mole removal “should be avoided. A mole should always be reviewed by a specialist prior to removal.  There are very serious risks with trying to remove a mole yourself, the main reason being it that there’s no way for you to tell if you’re removing a benign lesion - or a malignant one. A qualified expert spends years trying to recognise suspicious lesions, and even after identifying one, a biopsy is performed to determine exactly what it is”.

Exercise trends

Joe added a disclaimer that there are a few key things to remember about weight loss – “weight loss is an extremely broad term and can actually be achieved by going to the loo or having a hair cut. The term I prefer to use is fat loss. Reducing body fat levels, depending on your starting point, can have many health benefits as well as improving your physique. Fat loss is achieved by being in a calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time. Bear all this in mind as I discuss the following fads and remember, you cannot out train a poor diet”.

According to Joe, achieving a body transformation requires:

  • A healthy balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Eating nutrient dense foods packed full of essential vitamins and minerals
  • Getting sufficient sleep and recovery
  • Staying adequately hydrated
  • Managing your training and eating around your lifestyle so you can stay as consistent as possible

75 Hard challenge - #75hardchallenge has 125.4M views on TikTok

Joe warned that “the 75 hard challenge is, honestly, one of the craziest things I have ever seen. I have followed Andy Frisella for a long time, but I am highly sceptical as to the validity of the challenge. Why? Mainly because none of it is backed by science but also, there is intense scrutiny on certain aspects of life that could potentially lead to eating disorders or body dysmorphia. When looking at health and fitness challenges we need to look at the target audience. There is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to fitness. For someone who hasn't done any real training in years, if ever, jumping into 2x45 minute workouts per day is going to be incredibly taxing on the central nervous system (CNS) as well as the muscles and will drastically increase your risk of injury.

“He also says that you should follow a diet and avoid cheat meals but if you base your meals around your body, goals and lifestyle then there wouldn't be any need for a 'cheat meal' as you would just factor that into your week making adjustments where necessary. I do agree with his 5 minute cold shower and drinking more water, although I would be careful about how much water you drink. He advises 4L per day but I would multiple your body weight in KG by 0.033 to find out how much you should be drinking per day. Then add at least 500ml per every 30 minute workout you do”.

Weighted hula hoop challenge - #weightedhulahoop has 64.8M views on TikTok

Joe explained that “the weighted hula-hoop challenge promises a flatter stomach and a slimmer waist. Using the weighted hula-hoop won't directly make your waist slimmer but it can help to achieve the stipulations mentioned in my disclaimer above. It's super simple to do and you can do it anywhere so if this one tickles your fancy as a way of increasing your daily activity, go ahead! But it won't be the sole reason for your body making changes”.

12-3-30 treadmill challenge - #12330challenge has 1.4M views on TikTok

Joe shared that “walking on a treadmill is great for getting your steps up and increasing the incline will also increase intensity - two important factors when looking to achieve fat loss. Treadmills are a great tool if you are someone looking for a lower impact alternative to running but in my 'fat loss toolbox' it isn't placed very high in terms of importance. A lot of the people I see doing this challenge are talking about how much they are sweating. Sweat is a natural part of your body's thermogenesis (the process of regulating body temperature) and is not a measure of workout intensity. If you are judging the quality of your workout by the amount you're sweating, I challenge you to think about how much harder that workout would be in a sauna. Do not literally do a workout in a sauna but just imagine how much more you'd sweat but also how much lower your intensity would be. Sweat doesn't = hard work. Some people sweat when they are nervous”.

Drinking proffee (protein powder + coffee) post-workout - #proffee has 143.9K views on TikTok

Joe stated “I don't understand why you would have coffee as a post workout drink. I highly recommend getting protein in all of your meals, especially post workout, yet there are numerous studies demonstrating that coffee is a potent ergogenic. It can increase fat burning during training, heighten motivation, and improve work capacity. However, if you drink it post-workout, you will delay recovery and elevate the stress hormone cortisol just when you need to clear it.

“Exercising naturally elevates cortisol. If you are training hard enough to trigger an adaptive response, then you are exposing the body to an acute bout of stress. After exercise, you want to do everything you can to help the body metabolise that cortisol so that you get rid of all the metabolic by-products of training. If cortisol remains high, waste won’t be removed, tissue won’t be rebuilt as quickly, recovery will be delayed, and you’ll feel fatigued for longer. Caffeine has been shown to elevate cortisol, and at the least, its presence in the body will slow the metabolism of cortisol”.

When it comes to life insurance it’s important you follow medical advice, as not doing so can impact on an application for cover.

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You can either get a quote yourself, which takes just a few minutes of your time; just complete this form here. Or, if you want some human interaction, you can choose to speak with one of our specialists over the phone, who are extremely friendly and will be able to help you choose the best cover for you and your loved ones. 

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and should not replace the relationship that exists between a patient and their existing healthcare provider. Cavendish Online are not liable or responsible for the accuracy of the advice provided by third party experts, nor for the content or operation of any third-party websites, webpages, or resources which have been linked to within this article. *Advice and information (including TikTok view stats) correct as of 01/03/2021

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