It’s the new year, with the usual old resolutions —eat better, exercise more, and get healthy. These are all great resolutions — but there’s plenty of health trends that should be left behind in 2014.
Take the idea of “detoxifying.” Do you have a functioning liver and kidneys? Congratulations, you have everything your body needs to detoxify yourself. You don’t need fancy pills or a tube up your colon. Unless you’re overloading your liver and kidneys non-stop with alcohol and drugs, every reputable piece of medical research says your body is doing all the detoxing you will ever need.
Or there’s the whole eight cups of water a day recommendation. A recent editorial in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health notes that the health requirement of drinking eight glasses of water a day is an urban myth. Water is good for you — and people should drink it. But it’s just silly that a 100-pound woman would need to drink the same amount of water every day as a 200 pound man.
Speaking of weight, the Body Mass Index scale index should also be dumped. BMI was originally created as a tool to measure the “density” of whole populations. Even those who originally created it and used it for health indicators have stated it’s useless to evaluate individuals. Yet it’s still being used — even by the U.S. military — in deciding fitness and health of individual people.
Just remember, according to BMI, most of our top athletes are considered morbidly obese.
What also needs to go is “fat-shaming.” Fat people know they’re fat. They don’t need jerks driving by mooing to remind them. The irony is, heftier people are encouraged to “go outside, go for a walk, go get some simple exercise” and then once they’re doing it? Get stared at, bullied, mocked and judged. If treating others awfully (even passive aggressively “I’m so-worried-about-your-health” way) actually lead to permanent weight loss, there wouldn’t be a fat person on this planet.
There’s a billion-dollar food industry for promoting soda, candy and fatty food — but there’s also a billion dollar dieting industry after your money. As such, it would also be nice to see an end to paleo/raw food/Atkins or whatever extreme trendy diet is out there. It works for a while, and then doesn’t, or works for one person but is awful for another.
Or there’s fad “superhero foods” like wheatgrass, pomegranates and quinoa that are touted to have some sort of messianic ability to make people lose weight, prevent cancer and rescue children from burning buildings. Most of these claims are sketchy, or tenuous at best. The fad nature also can have a global impact. As health conscious well off people in North America make quinoa a part of their diet, the uptick in global demand means many poor Peruvians now can’t afford the staple crop that until now kept their families from starvation.
And finally, 2015 should also see us waving goodbye to the sort of people who pump up these sort of fads and nonsense. Take, for example, beloved television doctor Dr. Oz who was brought before U.S. Congress for pushing bogus weight-loss products. Dr. Oz’s claims were analyzed in a recent study lead by Christina Korownyk of the University of Alberta and published by the British Medical Journal. More than half of his recommendations weren’t substantiated or were completely contradicted by existing medical research.
Dumping Dr. Oz, would mean losing approximately 150 pounds right there. That sounds like a great healthy start to 2015.