Health advice is everywhere and TikTok is no exception. While viral posts about the latest insanities are tempting, they can also be potentially dangerous. So how do you tell the difference?
From the “12-3-30” method to liquid chlorophyll drops, I’ll take a closer look at some of TikTok’s most popular healthcare trends and evaluate if they’re safe and if they work.
If you’re interested in trying any of these health trends, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor first, especially if you’re on medication or have underlying medical conditions. When it comes to health, the best way to protect yourself is to be an informed consumer.
TWO INCHES UP
This combination is what it sounds like: protein powder plus coffee. Whether you add a scoop of protein powder to your coffee or add a shot of espresso to your protein shake, this dose of protein and caffeine can be a healthy, pre-workout boost, or a richer start. of nutrients for your day when breakfast is “just coffee”. An important caveat: use a protein powder with no caffeine or other additives. If your protein shake or powder contains caffeine, aim for no more than 300 mg of caffeine for the total combination (and half if you’re sensitive to caffeine).
Basically a large bowl of fresh fruit, Nature’s Cereal is a blend of berries and coconut water. The recipe is half a cup, each, of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries along with six ounces of coconut water. Any combination of fruit counts – just get to one and a half cups. And be sure to skip the sugary coconut waters. Consider adding some crushed ice to keep it very cold. Take out the cereal spoon and you are good to go!
Consider Nature’s Cereal as a healthy snack or part of a meal. It is not rich enough in nutrients or calories for the energy boost of a full meal. It’s also a great way to tame your sweet tooth.
A fairly simple sounding activity, these numbers represent the settings on a treadmill. You set the incline to 12, the speed to 3mph and the time to 30 minutes.
But like all other fitness routines, it’s important to train up to this point, and not jump right away. This is especially true if you are sedentary, because you want to avoid an overuse injury. For example, if you are new to fitness (especially a treadmill) start without an incline and walk for 15 minutes. You can gradually increase both the incline and the duration for your comfort.
Why does “12-3-30” work? Your muscles work harder on slopes, providing a shorter, more efficient workout. It’s also great for an energy boost and muscle building. But remember that any use of the treadmill counts as “high-impact,” a hard surface, so you’ll want to rotate this activity with low-impact cardio activities (like a bike or elliptical).
DO NOT DO THIS
Dry scooping is becoming popular, which is when you ingest a scoop of dry protein powder. But that’s not a good idea. There are no benefits and the risks can be great. For example:
- Accidental inhalation of dust into the lungs can cause lung irritation or possibly an infection
- Heart problems such as rapid heartbeat, palpitations or irregular heartbeat may occur which could lead to a heart attack (especially if there are several “energy boosters” for protein powder)
Garlic fills your nose
Do you feel a cold coming? Skip the advice to stick garlic cloves up your nose to relieve congestion. It won’t help and can actually make you feel worse.
Some people mistakenly think that when the clove is removed, a lot of mucus comes out. What’s really happening is that the garlic clove causes an increase in mucus buildup, so when you shed it, that extra mucus is released.
Garlic is strong and pungent and can cause irritation to the lining of the nose. Also, anything attached to the nose runs the risk of getting stuck, breaking, and causing general trauma to the nose (such as bleeding or broken skin).
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
While this sounds like a good way to tame your sweet tooth, you are still providing your body with another name for “sugar”.
While honey is not sucrose (white sugar), it is pure fructose (half the type of sugar in sucrose). And while fructose is the type of sugar found in fruit, it’s not at all like fruit, which is loaded with water and fiber to slow the digestion of this naturally occurring sugar. Depending on how much you eat, frozen honey can cause digestive problems, such as stomach cramps, bloating, or diarrhea.
And frozen honey goes down very easily, so your serving is probably a lot bigger than you think. Just one tablespoon of honey has 17 grams of sugar! Compare this to the USDA guidelines for added sugar intake (24 grams per day for women and 32 for men) and you’re closer to your limit than you might think. This sugar load can lead to severe fluctuations in blood sugar, especially for diabetics or pre-diabetics. Most healthy people can probably handle a small serving of frozen honey (a tablespoon or so) with no problem.
The best solution is to stick with honey along with the food, adding it like a drizzle.
Chlorophyll is a naturally occurring pigment in plants (it’s what makes them green) and has been used as a health promoter since the 1950s. But there is no convincing evidence of any human health benefits. Some studies claim that it can help with bad breath and constipation disorders with cancer prevention and weight loss.
So what’s the downside? First, there are no dosage recommendations, so you are on your own as to what the “right” amount is to support health. Next, what you get in the chlorophyll drops isn’t pure – it’s a water-soluble semi-synthetic form of chlorophyll called “chlorophyllin.”
There have been reports of skin rashes or risk of sunburn. And some people have mild digestive disorders.
While chlorophyll drops seem safe enough for some people, beware of the downsides that may occur. Plants need it more than we do! And fresh or frozen products are much cheaper and safer.
Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D. is the health editor of NBC News. Follow her on Twitter @drfernstrom.