There are many popular pseudoscience trends that continuously circulate culture, particularly trends and fads related to health and wellness. Pseudoscience may appear to be valid, but these trends generally lack scientific evidence and support, can't be tested, or only contain partial truths. While most of these trends are not harmless, it's best to be aware of where we place our interests and our pocketbooks! Here are a few pseudoscience trends that are definitely worth exploring further.
1. Fad Diets
Fad diets are nothing new, yet they keep popping up as if they're going to be life-changing. While most diets show quick results, they are not lasting in most cases and you end up gaining the weight back (yo-yo dieting). You can probably think of numerous diet trends that have been proven ineffective at best, which is why this is one of the top pseudoscience trends worth evaluating! It's always best to be skeptical with restrictive diets that cut out major food groups. Stick to a healthy lifestyle instead of dieting by eating clean and exercising!
2. Amber Teething Beads
You may have seen these beads around the necks or ankles of your friends' babies, or perhaps even your own baby is sporting one of them! The belief with these amber beads is that they supposedly release a chemical in reaction to the warmth of baby's skin that helps in soothing teething gums. There is also the belief that amber is charged with Reiki energy that's somehow released. Both of these claims are not proven in any way and in fact, amber must be heated to hundreds of degrees to even release its chemical properties. This pseudoscience belief is verified only by the placebo effect and it's good to take note that placing a necklace around a baby's neck poses a serious choking hazard.
3. Detox Cleanses
Another common pseudoscience belief is that you can detox your body through various dietary cleanses and natural, homeopathic remedies like salt baths, acupuncture, mediation, and religious practices. Unless you have been poisoned and are in need of medical attention, your body detoxes all on its own. We're designed to process and eliminate general toxins that we encounter on a daily basis through our liver, kidneys, and intestines. Other remedies may sound convincing and amazing, but they aren't founded on any scientific basis. Supporting healthy body function through clean eating and exercise will be your best option for optimal health!
4. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy that has recently gained a lot of popularity. It basically consists of swishing oils, like coconut or olive oil, in your mouth for 20 minutes as it "pulls" bacteria and other toxins out of your mouth and throat. Oil pulling supposedly acts as a body detoxifier, drawing up toxins from your body and trapping them in the oil, creating a cloudy appearance once you spit it out. This is unfortunately not possible, as amazing as it sounds! The cloudy appearance is due to the reaction of saliva and movement of swooshing, and will contain some bacteria that's been in your mouth. At best, you will have better oral health from swooshing a liquid around and through your teeth but it won't do much more.
5. Anti-Aging Cosmetics
Many cosmetics that are currently on the market have outlandish claims that they can prevent or reverse the aging process of our skin. This is not true in any way- it's not possible to reverse signs of aging or prevent them from occurring. Some products help in reducing the appearance of aging signs, like retinol, Vitamin A, and collagen, but they won't reverse any sun damage or other signs of aging. It's best to age with grace, take steps in keeping you skin healthy and hydrated, and remember to wear sunscreen at all times!
6. Sticking to Traditional Medicine Only
This isn't a remark on anyone's beliefs regarding natural medicine- I adhere to some natural medicine practices and believe they have a lot of merit! However, some disregard western medicine altogether, claiming it's not necessary. As we've advanced in life, so has our ability to prevent and treat disease. Modern medicine is rigorously tested by science and proven to be effective in treatment and prevention. The same cannot be said for most traditional remedies, unfortunately. I do believe we are an over-medicated society and that there is overuse of modern drugs and treatments that can be replaced with lifestyle changes and natural remedies- however, it's important not to neglect regular exams, doctor visits, and medical interventions when necessary to preserve health and wellness!
7. Gluten & Grains Are Inherently Bad
Another pseudoscience belief is that gluten is bad for everyone and that grains, even whole grains, are inherently unhealthy. Gluten is simply a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley that initiates a reaction in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Currently, the craze against grains has exploded and people without any negative reactions to gluten are going gluten-free just because it's popular. The truth is that wheat products and whole grains contain important vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential for digestion and nutrient absorption. On top of that, going gluten-free is tough! Unless you are intolerant of gluten, there's really no reason to cut it out.
While most pseudoscience trends sound valid and generally amazing, most of the time they just aren't and simply play on our wishful thinking and beliefs that they are effective. It's always best to be aware and know the facts- if it's safe, however, and you personally believe a remedy to be effective, then go for it! What are some other pseudoscience trends that you've heard of?