eating disorder dietitians talk about viral tiktok health trends
  • December 9, 2022

Episode 12: TikTok Health Trends

If you have TikTok you likely will have noticed the many diet trends on there. In this episode we will […]

If you have TikTok you likely will have noticed the many diet trends on there. In this episode we will be unpacking our thoughts on popular TikTok health trends.

 

 

Number 1: The Internal Shower 

The internal shower trend refers to the idea that making a drink combining chia seeds, lemon juice and water will aid in your digestion and ‘cleanse’ the body.

 

To unpack the actual science behind this: 

  • Chia seeds are a great source of soluble fibre (this is a type of fibre that forms a gel like consistency in the body to help soften your stools and move them through the digestive system) which helps with both constipation and diarrhoea
  • 2tbsp of chia seeds (as recommended in the recipe) is roughly 10g of fibre which covers about 30% of your daily fibre needs – so quite a bit of fibre in just one drink
  • This means that for some people, if you’re not used to so much fibre at once, this can actually cause some gut upset
  • Plus, in terms of fibre, its actually more beneficial to get your fibre from a diverse range of different plant foods across the day rather than just relying on a few sources. This promotes a healthy diverse range of gut bacteria.
  • Variety and sustainability is key – there is no one drink/food/meal that will cure your gut/digestive issues.
  • So, if you enjoy this as a drink and find it has some benefits for you, then feel free to go for it! But otherwise, you definitely don’t need to include it for healthy digestion.

 

Number 2: Bone Broth 

Bone broth is a broth made by cooking animal bones with herbs and spices for number of hours. The end product is a broth containing protein (including collagen) as well as some trace vitamins and minerals.

TikTok health trends online claim bone broth can: help with food allergies/intolerances, inflammatory bowel diseases and gut inflammation.

 

Does it actually help?

  • The is currently no strong evidence to support any of the health claims associated with bone broth.
  • In fact, there are even some risks associated with consuming diets high in bone broth  as they may contain presence of heavy metals such as lead
  • If you enjoy it and have found it has helped – it likely isn’t causing you any harm (as long as you don’t consume large quantities of it daily) but we don’t recommend it as dietitians as the evidence for it isn’t strong.
  • Plus, if it has helped you it’s also worthwhile to think about what the bone broth has replaced in you diet
    • For example: maybe you swapped to bone broth instead of a different meal that was causing digestive issues for you – therefore it may have actually been the fact that eliminating this meal was the cause of your health improvements and not the bone broth itself

 

Number 3: Balsamic vinegar + soda water ‘coke’ 

This is a drink containing a mix of balsamic vinegar and soda water or seltzer which is designed to mimic Coke.

  • Whilst yes it looks similar, it definitely doesn’t taste similar!
  • There is likely no adverse consequences to drinking it but when we look at this as a health trend, we need to think about what this is saying about Coke as a drink.
    • Perpetuating the idea that Coke is ‘bad’ and needs to be replaced may start to generate unnecessary guilt and shame around the consumption of Coke.
    • This can cause a mentality of restriction around Coke and can lead to a binge restrict cycle.
  • Even though coke isn’t a health food per say, it is still valid and can be included in a balanced diet if you enjoy it.
  • However, we are aware that everyone has their own health goals and maybe reducing your Coke intake is going to be beneficial for you.
    • In this case, reducing Coke is valid.
    • If swapping Coke for this drink helps, then maybe it is a good option for you as likely there aren’t really any negative health side effects.
    • But there are plenty of other (and potentially more enjoyable) swaps you could try instead.
  • The only potential risk associated is that balsamic vinegar is quite acidic so sipping on it all day isn’t advised for dental health.

 

Number 4: Liquid Chlorophyll

If you haven’t come across this yet, it is claimed to be a miracle product on TikTok for helping with weight loss, bloating, energy levels, acne and even cancer but honestly the number of claims are countless.

Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their green colour (so green veg are naturally very rich sources) and helps trap sunlight for photosynthesis to give them their energy to grow.

 

But what is the evidence for humans?

  • Number 1 – supplements aren’t a very regulated area so there may be presence of other harmful things such as heavy metals.
  • In general, the research is quite poor so we can’t accurately extrapolate any benefits to the general population.
  • Chlorophyll may be a source of iron but not really enough to actually contribute to meeting your requirements.
  • A common benefit that pops up is that it improves energy, but we need to question if drinking chlorophyll means that you are now also drinking more water in your day which also helps energy. Plus, have you made other diet/lifestyle changes at the same time as adding chlorophyll.
  • Supplements can also give a bit of a placebo effect where you feel like you are doing something good for your body.
  • Negative side effects to consider include:
    • Discoloured stools
    • Digestive issues
    • Potential interactions with other medications
  • If you want to add more chlorophyll into your diet, we recommend just eating more green veg – this will give you chlorophyll alongside loads of other beneficial nutrients anyway

 

Number 5: ‘What I Eat in A Day’ posts

There are some positives of these videos such as inspiration for meal ideas, but you could get this from recipe posts instead.

 

There are however quite a few drawbacks to ‘What I Eat In a Day’ TikTok health trends:

  • Comparison of your own diet to the person in the video
    • This is a big issue as everyone has unique needs for types and amounts of food.
    • Therefore, if you are following someone else’s day of eating you will likely be negating your own internal eating cues.
  • Many of these posts also start off with a clip of the creators’ body which perpetuates the idea that if you eat like this person, you will look like them which is never actually true.
  • They often also promote problematic eating disorder behaviours without either the creator or the viewer realising it.
    • For example, picking out lowest calorie options, skipping meals/snacks, eating withing set calorie limits.
    • Many also glorify/normalise very low-calorie days of eating. Plus, the aesthetic shots glamorise this lifestyle.

 

These are just 5 out of so many problematic TikTok health trends that you may come across. In general, we recommend being very mindful of ANY diet health trends/advice you see on social media, especially if it isn’t from an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) or Registered Dietitian (RD).

 

BOOK IN A FREE DISCOVERY CALL WITH OUR DIETITIANS
 

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