10 Health Crazes That Will Actually Damage Your Health

Surely that's not the point?

Drinking Human Breast Milk
Warner Bros.

Everywhere you look these days, there always seems to be a new way to transform yourself into a lean, mean, oh-so-sexy machine.

Whether it's the cabbage soup diet, Atkins, squat challenges, juice cleansing, HIIT, colonic irrigation, or any other weird and wonderful fad, there will always be someone somewhere promising the quick-fix solution to long life, health and happiness (for a small fee, of course).

It's almost as though people don't want to hear that the best way to stay healthy is by eating well and doing plenty of exercise for the rest of their lives (boo, boring). The idea that you can turn your life around in "just three days" is unfortunately much more appealing to our short attention spans and couch potato tendencies.

Whilst a lot of these crazes are mostly harmless (if completely ineffective), there are a few out there that may actively damage your health, putting you at risk of injury, malnutrition and even chronic disease. 

By flinging yourself head-first into the latest diet or exercise regime, you might be putting at risk the very thing you want to improve, not to mention throwing away fistfuls of money while you're at it.

So how do you sort the health gurus from the snake oil salesmen? Well, unfortunately, the general rule of thumb is that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

9. Cutting The Carbs

Drinking Human Breast Milk
Paramount Pictures

What Is It?

Drastically reducing, or completely cutting carbs from your diet is one of those health mantras that's practically hammered into us from birth. But is eliminating the carbohydrates from your diet really all that good for you?

So, What's So Bad About It?

Well, for a start, any regime that requires you to cut out whole food groups should be approached with extreme caution. There is a reason why a balanced diet is called "balanced", and eliminating a major part of it is like going into your home and removing half of the bricks - the whole remaining structure is then compromised.

Despite their terrible public image, carbs are the primary fuel for your brain and your muscles and are necessary to maintain normal bodily function. A low-carb diet will prevent the proper maintenance of muscle and glycogen, leading to muscle fatigue and loss.

Even for those not interested in muscle maintenance, just eating a low carb diet will have a detrimental effect on your mood, causing elevated stress levels, fatigue and depression.

There is also the added danger that those who cut the carbs will replace them with large amounts of protein. This comes with its own long list of health risks including raised cholesterol, osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Apart from anything else, a low carb diet is difficult to stick to, and most people on one will end up giving in to temptation and binging on more unhealthy, simple carbs than they would otherwise eat as part of a normal, balanced diet. Eating the complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruit and vegetables is what is going to stop you scarfing down that entire Victoria sponge cake on cheat day.

So next time someone insists that there's no carbs before Marbs, you can happily ignore them and get on with enjoying your delicious, delicious carbs.


Writer. Raconteur. Gardeners' World Enthusiast.