5 most pointless health trends

Health crazes that aren't worth the effort

With new health and fitness trends and products constantly popping up in magazines and health food stores, it can be difficult to know which ones are worth the effort. To help save your money and time, check out these 5 pointless health trends.

Toning shoes

Toning shoes sound a little too good to be true, so it may come as no surprise that research reveals that they probably are just that.

Manufacturers of these shoes claim that, due to the slightly unstable sole which is designed to make your muscles work harder as you walk, simply by wearing this footwear (and with no extra effort on your part) you can burn off more calories and tone up your legs and bottom.

However, separate research studies by several sources including the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have found that many toning shoes do not live up to their claims, and some companies have even been forced to issue refunds as their claims have been unfounded.

Expensive superberries

Barely a day goes by without a new cure-all superberry hitting the headlines.

However, shelling out for expensive and exotic superfoods could be a pointless expense. According to studies, acai berry juice - a celebrity favourite that comes with a fairly hefty price tag - only has average health benefits when compared to that of other fruits.

Similarly, little research has been done to prove that the much publicised - and expensive - goji berry is better than any other berry for maintaining good health.

Many of the best superfoods can in fact be found at a budget-friendly price in your local supermarket.

Studies have found that acai berry juice is lower in antioxidants than pomegranates, blueberries and red wine - which are also much cheaper alternatives - while research carried out at the Scottish Crop Research Institute found that the humble blackcurrant may be the healthiest fruit of all.

Bottled water

As we are constantly encouraged to drink more water, sales of bottled water have increased across the world in recent years.

However, while many of us perceive bottled water as the healthiest option, there has been no scientific evidence that bottled water is better for us, and some studies have actually suggested that ditching the bottled water trend could be great for your health (as well as your bank balance).

The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) did a four year review of the bottled water industry and found the water to be no safer or healthier; findings that were also confirmed in a separate study by the University of Geneva.

The NRDC further concluded that 25 per cent of the water they tested was in fact just tap water in a bottle.

Studies have also suggested that bottled water may be worse for our health as chemicals (phthalates) from the bottles leak into the water over time, which may lead to hormone imbalance when consumed in high levels.

Gluten-free dieting

Gluten has picked up a bit of a bad reputation over the last few years, with many of us going out of our way to avoid the controversial protein.

However, while going gluten-free is essential for those with celiac disease and important for those with gluten sensitivity, research suggests that, for everyone else, cutting out gluten to aid weight loss may in fact be pointless.

According to research published by an Arizona State University professor in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is no benefit of following a gluten-free diet for the average healthy individual and cutting out gluten is not an effective weight loss strategy.

Furthermore, not only can gluten-free alternatives be expensive, but by cutting out whole grains that contain gluten - including rye and barley - you may miss out on the fibre, vitamins and minerals they contain.

Costly cleanses

Regular detoxes in the form of juice cleanses and detox supplements have become an essential part of many people's healthy living routines; however many experts have claimed that they are a pointless expense that have little benefit for our bodies.

According to a professor of nutritional biochemistry at University College London, David Bender, in a report in The Biologist journal, detoxing is, at best, pointless, as our body is already highly effective at getting rid of potentially harmful toxins through its in-built waste disposal system.

Furthermore, any weight loss benefits experienced from juice cleanses tend to be short term, making them an ineffective method for managing your weight.

Rather than splashing out on expensive detox and cleansing kits, try to follow a regular healthy diet rich in nutrients, which will help you to look and feel great and allow your body to detox itself as it is designed to do.

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