The 10 Biggest Health Myths, Busted

The 10 Biggest Health Myths, Busted

#8 Gluten-Free Diets are Healthy

The biggest ongoing fad in the health and wellness industry is the gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. The diet has become so popular that many people avoid gluten altogether and purchase products that are gluten-free. Unfortunately, a gluten-free diet is not healthy for most people. The only exception to this rule is people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. For everyone else, a gluten-free diet is unhealthy.

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Only 1% of Americans have celiac disease. People with celiac disease have problems digesting gluten, which actually damages their intestinal lining. When people without celiac disease go gluten-free, they are refusing to eat many nutritious foods. In addition to wheat, barley and rye, gluten is found in whole grain foods like faro, bulgur, spelt, kamut, triticale and even oats. While gluten itself has no health benefits, the food it is found on certainly does. Vitamins, minerals, iron and fiber are all essential elements of a human diet. Going gluten-free means eliminating bread, crackers, cereal, pasta, pastries and many processed foods. Giving up entire categories of food will eliminate nutrients from your diet. People who follow the diet have been found to be deficient in B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber. Although there are now many new products on the market that are gluten-free, they tend to be expensive and contain other unhealthy elements. The gluten-free products tend to be high in saturated fat or cholesterol. Other products are high in calories but lack vitamins and minerals. Experts also caution people to avoid the new category of herbal products that claim to help people absorb gluten. There is no scientific basis that these herbal remedies do anything at all.

Takeaway: Gluten-Free Diets are Not Healthy Unless Recommended by a Doctor

#7 You Need to “Detox”

The most popular word in health and wellness marketing is “toxins.” We’re constantly bombarded with marketing messages imploring us to take products that will help the body eliminate toxins. Toxins, we’re told, can cause cancer, disease, obesity and wrinkles. Detoxing – through colon cleanses, juicing, sweating, or following special diets – has become the go-to remedy for eliminating impurities that accumulate in the body. This multi-billion-dollar industry has people convinced that colonics and juice regimens will keep the body healthy and fit.

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The only problem with this industry is that detoxing is a marketing invention that is grounded in pseudo-science. Detoxing for purposes of recovering from drug and alcoholism is a real scientific process, but detoxing for impurities is bunk. How do we know? First of all, consider the marketing that convinces you toxins are bad. Do they ever name the toxins? No. These poisonous substances seem to have no particulars attached to them. When a network of scientists contacted the manufacturers of 15 products that claimed to detoxify the body, they requested evidence supporting the health claims of the products. Not one manufacturer could explain the detoxification process, let alone identify a substance that was a toxin. Second, the body is known to have the perfect detoxification system: kidneys, a liver, skin, and lungs, all of which detoxify the body all the time.

Celebrities commonly push detox for money, but the programs they advocate are also bunk. The common myth that a person needs frequent colonics to avoid “toxins” in their fecal matter is completely false. There are no special poisons in feces, and the only result of frequent colonics is that it increases the risk of bowel perforations.

Takeaway: You Do Not Need to “Detox”

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