The Carnivore Diet
Modern science works under the assumption that humans are omnivores — but these dieters disagree. This wild weight loss craze involves eating red meat (and pretty much just red meat) for every meal. The slabs of steak are sometimes slathered in butter or topped with eggs to supplement some nutrition. But other than that, it’s red meat or bust. The carnivore diet grew in popularity in 2018 after endorsement from a few right-wing activists and sprouted a sizable online community through Reddit and Instagram. Who needs vegetables, anyway? According to science, you do. When dietitians were consulted about the healthfulness of this meat-heavy diet, they were more than a bit skeptical.
Colonics and Enemas
In January of 2018, Gwyneth Paltrow’s company blog posted a raving recommendation to self-perform a coffee enema. They may be taking the title “Goop” too seriously. Coffee enemas, and all other enemas, colonics, and various methods of colon cleansing, are a really bad idea. They are also completely unnecessary — your body can detox all on its own. (More on that later.)
Enemas were first diagnosed as a medical treatment in the 1800s. That’s the same medical era that prescribed swallowing leeches to get rid of a cough and gave narcotics to crying babies. The practice was largely condemned by the American Medical Association in 1919, and more recently, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology called them “not merely useless but potentially dangerous.” Dangers of enemas include “rectal burning or perforation; infections (including sepsis, which can be life threatening); severe electrolyte imbalances (which have actually killed two people); colitis, and heart failure,” Donnica L. Moore, MD, told The Daily Meal. Flushing your colon in this way could actually kill you. If you fell for this tip, the only thing you really need to flush is your Internet history — and seek your health advice elsewhere.
Keep up with the Kardashians all you want, but you might want to steer clear of their diet advice. Earlier in 2018, Kim Kardashian was criticized for advertising her use of Flat Tummy Co. appetite-suppressant lollipops. According to the brand, the candies contain an ingredient that staves off appetite — in other words, it helps you ignore your natural cue that your body needs to eat. These lollipops may or may not work; they’re considered a dietary supplement, and therefore are not actually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. But you know what definitely works to get rid of hunger? Eating food. And doing that is actually quite healthy, unlike relying on these products to avoid your appetite. Kim Kardashian was bashed online by other celebrities and many health experts for advertising a product that may promote disordered eating. You may want to (lolli) pop these in the trash.
The only “clean” eating you need to worry about is making sure you wash your produce. Foods aren’t “clean” or “dirty,” unless you’re choosing between a rinsed tomato and one you pulled fresh off the vine. “What is clean eating?” said registered dietitian Dana Harrison. “Sometimes I like to ask a group of people this question and hear their answers, which end up rarely being the same. Clean eating is a phrase that doesn’t have an exact definition, and I find that each person makes it their own.”
Most advocates of clean eating advocate eliminating processed foods and focusing on whole food ingredients such as vegetables, grains, and meats. And sure, adding lots of nutrient-rich foods to your diet will probably help you feel better, mentally and physically. But eating an Oreo here and there won’t derail your body’s functioning, nor will it taint the cleanliness of your colon — and viewing simple food choices as essentially a high-stakes battle between good and evil is not a very healthy approach.
“The idea behind it is positive,” Harrison says, “but I find it’s become a label that can come with some negative connotations. Clean vs. dirty; I should eat this, I shouldn’t eat that.” Condemning certain foods, such as processed foods, contributes to the idea that you need to eliminate entire food groups from your diet in order to be healthy — which, in turn, could be damaging to your mental health.