Health Fad Myth Busters: Local experts weigh in on over-the-top trends

As long as there has been a health and wellness industry, health fads have circulated as quick fixes to boost your overall health or address existing ailments or issues.

From juicing for weight loss to liquid IV hydration for your immune system, tongue scraping to remove oral bacteria, or even infrared saunas to aid with sleep, there is no shortage of trends or theories out there that many people swear by.

But do they actually help? If many are reaping the benefits from them, aren’t they worth trying? Motif consulted with two local dietician/nutritionists for their expert opinions on three of the most out-there trends and their responses aren’t surprising.

If there is one fad that stands the test of time, it would probably be the high-protein diet. Advocates of high-protein diets claim it contributes to increased muscle mass, while other studies have found it has metabolic advantages such as sparing lean body mass during weight loss, promoting weight management, and even increasing intestinal calcium absorption.

Kelly Currier, registered dietician for the federally-funded state WIC program, says that those who take up a high-protein diet can risk becoming malnourished because of the nutrients they may miss out on by sticking to certain foods.

“The lack of focus on certain nutrients can affect certain aspects of health, ”Currier says. When sparing muscle, Currier explains you lose a lot of water, and you aren’t burning fat because you need a certain amount of carbs to be able to do so.

“When you get off of that diet, you just gain the weight back,” she adds. “It can be a great nutritional risk, unless under a doctor’s [supervision]; it’s not anything I feel comfortable putting anyone on.”

Johnson and Wale’s registered dietician/ nutritionist Allison Acquisto agrees with Currier. Acquisto says that while high-protein foods can be satisfying and help decrease calorie intake, cutting out whole food groups could eliminate specific nutrients.

“For example, for dairy products, people turn to plant alternatives and might not be receiving enough vitamin D, calcium, or potassium,” Acquisto explains. She also says that the restrictive or extreme eating schedule associated with high-protein diets may lead to disordered eating.

“If [you’re] focusing on one type of food, you may have the urge to overeat other foods if you end up getting too hungry from the restriction,” she says.

One of the (literally) hottest health trends out there is the infamous coffee enema, a major component of Gerson Therapy, created by German-American doctor Max Gerson. Along with enemas, Gerson Therapy relies on strict diets and dietary supplements to remove toxins from the body, boost the immune system, and replace excess salt in cells.

According to, coffee enemas are thought to stimulate bile flow and the production of glutathione, a detoxifying antioxidant.

Enthusiasts rave about the energy-inducing benefits of the practice, claiming it stimulates the ultimate colon cleanse to make you feel lighter, healthier, and even euphoric, as one Florida woman exclaims on TLC’s “My Strange Addiction.”

But wait, you want me to put that where?!

With coffee containing the all-too-popular caffeine, which is a stimulant, Acquisto says it’s not recommended as a colon cleanser, because it can cause irritation in the lining of the large intestine. “The body has a good filtration system through the liver to clean it out on its own,” Acquisto says. The practice can also introduce bacteria into the colon, Acquisto adds. She recommends for people to instead eat a balanced diet of a variety of foods with fiber and antioxidants.

“Any colon cleanse will deprive you,” Currier says. “People should consider prebiotics or probiotics instead.”

Type 2 diabetics everywhere are turning to the newest injectable medication Ozempic to manage their condition but because of its rapid weight loss effects, many non-diabetics are seeking prescriptions for off-label use.

Ozempic is said to work alongside diet and exercise to improve blood sugar in type 2 diabetics while reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death. It’s a semaglutide injection that is designed to respond when blood sugar rises by releasing insulin in the body and slowing down any food leaving the stomach.

While it is not advertised as a weight loss drug, it is said to cause an average weight loss of eight to 14 pounds in patients who use it, depending on the dosage. Patients take one dose per week with or without food. It should not be used for type 1 diabetes.

“It’s not a good option for weight loss only,” Acquisto says. “It’s shocking that people that don’t meet the criteria are trying to get it to lose weight. There’s a shortage where people who need it, can’t get it.”

Acquisto says the medication is most beneficial for those with insulin resistance and that it’s a catastrophe for people to be taking it off label. For those who only want to lose weight, Acquisto says that a balanced diet and physical activity should be key.