These days, it’s so easy to get lost in a sea of health trends with new treatments going viral even before the previous one has peaked. There are so many to try: juicing, detoxing, bulletproof coffee, green smoothies, paleo, the GM diet, and so on and so forth. These fads come and go, with some having more longevity than others, but how do we know what actually works?
While some of these practices are backed by scientific research, the true test of viability still lies in trial and error. Results from a controlled laboratory setting may point to success, but throw in factors from real, everyday life and results might differ. But with the sheer volume of health fads, how do we know what to try? We’ve gathered some of the more popular health trends and compared the results observed by real people trying them out.
One thing we take for granted a lot is the amount of sugar in our diet. Our body needs sugar, yes, but like most things, excessive quantities of it can lead to obesity, that in turn, can lead to diabetes. Unfortunately, while we are aware of the dangers of too much sugar, we’re in the dark about how much sugar we really are consuming. It’s easier to drink soda when we don’t realize that it has equivalent to ten whole sugar cubes with each can.
Does it work? Author Eve. O Schaub embarked on a year long experiment with her family that involved skipping food that contained added sweeteners. This wasn’t limited to refined sugar, but sugar substitutes, both natural and artificial as well. While they had monthly sweet treats, their adapting bodies and changing palates ended up hardly missing sweets. By the end of the year, they were all healthier, stronger, and more energetic.
Drinking Warm Honey Lemons in the Morning
Honey and lemons are generally thought of as healthy things. Add them together and you get a powerhouse combination that boasts of a mile long list of benefits that will keep you guzzling this sweet and sour beverage. This home remedy is said to aid weight loss, digestion, cleansing the lymphatic system and urinary tract, boosting energy levels, improving colon function, and improve oral and skin health.
Does it work? Author and poetess Crystal Davis went on a year long honey lemon challenge and produced great results, most likely from the daily vitamin boost. She was free from colds, the flu, and gastro illness for that year, a mean feat considering she was hardly a stranger to tonsillitis. The results got even better when her whole family started taking honey lemons, since it kept them all healthier and less likely to catch, then pass on the illness to each other.
The idea of swishing oil in your mouth may sound iffy, but oil pulling, otherwise known as “kavala” and “gundusha” has actually been around for some time, figuring in ancient Ayurvedic texts. Oil pulling is the practice of swishing a tablespoon of oil—favorites are sesame, sunflower and coconut—in your mouth for twenty minutes. Doing so is said to improve not just oral health, but overall health as well, by drawing out toxins from the body. Among oil pulling’s fans are Academy Award winner and holistic diva Gwyneth Paltrow and current Hollywood It Girl Shailene Woodley.
Does it work? A study conducted on 20 adolescent boys who performed oil pulling for ten days showed positive results. Microorganism levels in their mouths were significantly lower, plaque index was lower, so were the index scores for gingivitis. Other experts have chimed in, too, saying that oil pulling does have anti-microbial effects for the sinuses, gums, and teeth, but it’s hardly the cure-all others claim it to be.