Wanting to get healthy should never be considered a "trend," but sometimes new concepts or ideas in the wellness space can seem a bit unbelievable or far-fetched. And with changing lifestyles and new research, we just might find once-popular wellness trends could be seen as outdated, unsafe, or ineffective.
To figure out which trends call for some caution, we asked fitness and wellness experts and influencers for their opinions on the fads they regret taking part in or that they think are on the way out. Some even shared the new wellness trends to keep on our radars, too.
As a note, we know wellness isn't one-size-fits-all, and we're not trying to shame people here, nor set a mandate. A doctor or medical professional is always the best resource to find out what will work for you.
One of our experts, Claire Fountain of Trill Yoga, put it best: "Now, I'm not in the business of making people feel bad about themselves or their choices in 'wellness.' There are many paths to fitness and health, as you define it. So even if I find something lame, doesn't mean someone else doesn't love it and find goodness in it. And I think as long as we stay away from gimmicks, diet culture disguised as wellness, and the massive privilege in most 'wellness' we will all be okay."
So read these opinions below, but make your own decision about your health. It's your body, after all!
"CBD that is not regulated, and being mass marketed really has to go. It supposedly is in everything, and yet it's not when you actually do the research on the products. On top of that, do we really need it in everything? Do you even know how it might help you or be of use in your life?" — Claire Fountain, Trill Yoga
Our take? We've written about the benefits of CBD and what to watch out for (and our editors do have favorite products), but the product market is currently unregulated. In fact, the FDA held its first CBD hearing on May 31, so it may take some time to get more answers. Do your research on what you buy and consult with your doctor before you stock up on everything CBD.
This "trend" was pretty much unanimous with our experts and influencers. Here's what they had to say:
"I regret taking part in any restrictive diet in the past and feeling guilty or not good enough for not following or staying on track with the latest trendy diet, from Paleo to sugar-free to keto to Whole30. True, I saw short-term results, but it wasn’t sustainable and left me disconnected from the people around me. I have realized our bodies are all different; our nutritional needs and how we metabolize foods are unique to our bodies and lifestyle choices. One size does not fit all when it comes to diets." — Katherine Chen, @intentionally_kat
"I spent years destroying my body trying every crazy restrictive diet there is. So many of them are marketed as 'healthy,' but at the end of the day, any time you are restricting entire food groups or essential macro and micronutrients from your diet, it's not healthy. When I finally lost 45 pounds, it was only because I created a healthy, balanced diet for myself, and that's the only reason I've been able to keep the weight off for eight years and continue to get stronger each day." — Katie Dunlop, Love Sweat Fitness
"If you follow me, you know I want to get rid of the obsession with everything, from food to body to 'wellness.' This goes for keto, poorly informed vegan diets, gluten-free when you don't truly have a gluten intolerance or allergy, and anything else that is sold as 'healthy' but is really just obsession and control by any other name. We don't need a cleanse from anything. Our bodies and organs will figure it out, as long as we keep giving it nutrient-dense food and water (plus sleep, plus breathing, etc.)." — Fountain
The Keto Diet
Sure, we just went over restrictive diets, but this phenomenon that took the wellness community (and beyond) by storm was called out by almost all of our experts, so we thought it deserved its own spot on the list. Our take? We found that going keto is different for everyone, so we might sound like a broken record at this point, but discuss with your doctor first if it's right for you.
"While a properly executed keto meal plan can do wonders for some, it's absolutely not the right diet for everyone. Every single body is so unique, and we all require completely different foods to feel our best. Extremely low levels of carbohydrates can create excess stress on our systems, and potentially exacerbate blood sugar imbalances, hormonal issues, and chronic stress levels. The takeaway: There is no such thing as a perfect diet, or one-size-fits-all when it comes to food!" — Hannah Schmitt, @wholisticallyhannah_
"I fully regret taking part in the keto craze, and I hope to see it move on out! Like most people, I read about all of keto's wild effects. It was a SURE WAY to lose weight, feel younger, healthier, etc. And given my diet was already pretty low-carb, it seemed pretty easy. But I found two major problems with the diet:
"One, it totally changed my relationship with food. Food was no longer meant to be enjoyed or nourished, it was only eaten if it fit into my day's calculation. I soon realized the diet was NOT sustainable. I was turning down social plans so I could stick to my diet, and if I accidentally went over on my macros, I felt terrible about it. And two, women need carbs for hormone and thyroid balance. I lost my period for months during and following my keto diet.
"The worst part of the diet was when I 'broke keto.' It took me months to indulge in the foods I once enjoyed without feeling guilty about it. This kind of relationship with food and health was SO unhealthy physically and mentally. I do believe there are people who benefit from the diet, but I am sad to see the extremes it can take people to." — Nicole Cogan, @nobread
"Teatoxes" and Appetite Suppressants
"How these are even still a thing is beyond me. Major celebrities and influencers endorsing skinny teas and things like lollipops that claim to help you shed pounds is super irresponsible and truly just complete BS. Luckily, I feel like most people are starting to realize it and aren't buying into the hype anymore." — Dunlop
"Can we please stop this? It's not a godsend to 'detox' your life. We don't need to detox our lives anyway. It's trendy and might not be so great for your insides or your teeth. Save your money for whole foods and therapy." — Fountain
There are a lot of different beliefs from experts about what activated charcoal can do for you, but again, it all depends on the individual, so you'll need to talk to your doctor. When we spoke to nutritionist Samantha Franceschini, MS, she offered up some advice: "Activated charcoal when consulting with a health practitioner can be very beneficial to aid in digestion and remove toxins from the body." She also recommends trying chlorella as an alternative.
Heated Workouts to Lose Weight
"Your body does not burn enough calories to produce sweat to make any drastic change to adipose tissue. All that you are losing is water, and this increases the potential for dehydration. This can be super dangerous if you don't drink enough water. Hence the bad headaches you may experience!" — Keely Ahrold, @keelya
Our take? Proceed with caution when you go to a heated workout class, and we agree with Keely: Don't expect to lose a lot of weight from one. There are some benefits to a hot yoga class or something similar, though. The heat can make you more flexible, and sweating it out can help you release toxins. If you do decide to head to a class, make sure you hydrate and prep before.
"Fasting is another technique that can be very supportive for certain people and very destructive to others. Blood sugar imbalances, stress load, and where a woman is in her menstrual cycle are all important factors to look at before deciding if fasting is suitable." —Schmitt
Our take? There is research that intermittent fasting can be beneficial for some people. But we agree with Schmitt: Listen to your body, and speak to your doctor before you give it a try.
Milk Alternatives (or Not Reading the Ingredients)
No, don't throw out your cartons of almond/oat/cashew milk just yet. Just read the labels carefully, as Claire Fountain explains:
"So many trendy milks are mostly sugar. It's fine if you'd like to have a creamy substance to enjoy, but I would not look to alternative milks as nutrient-dense foodstuffs, or vilify dairy if you enjoy it." — Fountain
"Working from a state of 'hustle.' The idea of continuously grinding to achieve goals became super trendy over the last couple of years. I went through a period of continuously pushing myself, both mentally and physically. I thought it was glamorous to always be busy and felt rewarded for doing so. But in the end, I was left chronically stressed, burned-out, uninspired, and completely exhausted. Now, I choose to operate from a place of intuition, balance, and flow. I listen to my body and honor the times I need to rest." — Schmitt
Our thoughts? We'd never begrudge anyone for working hard. In fact, we are big advocates of it. But the pressure to hustle sometimes pushes us beyond our limits, which can lead to burnout. Take some moments throughout your day, or week, to check in with yourself and leave some room for self-care.
Big Weights = Bulk
"Believing big weights will make you bulky—it's trendy now in dance cardio and many other classes to see no more than three- or five-pound weights for women. Ladies, one more time, heavy weights will NOT make you bulky. Weight lifting for women remains one of the best ways women can feel confident, shape, and tone their bodies and create longevity that is healthy. Not to mention weight-bearing exercise help with bone density. (And if you need to see this to believe it, come hang with me on @cbquality. I lift more than most men weigh and have yet to be 'bulky.')" — Fountain
"Everything from fit teas to adaptogens to CBD… There are a lot of claims being made that use the power of words and marketing to get us to buy their products. I say look for transparency and brands that are built around science and research, when possible." — Fountain
We couldn't have said it better.
Now, What's In?
We also asked our group of experts and influencers to share emerging wellness trends that they're excited about. Here's what they had to say:
"I'm absolutely in love with the idea of structuring your life around your menstrual cycle. This includes the foods we eat, the exercise we partake in, and the way we schedule our days. I have a feeling this practice is going to continue gaining popularity within the next year." — Schmitt
"The days of squatting 150 pounds just to say you did are over. When it comes to women's fitness, I see more and more of a trend toward functional fitness. This means more workouts that are focused on training your muscle groups to work together and improve your performance in daily tasks. It's super unlikely you'll need to squat a person anytime soon, but you definitely need the strength, mobility, and endurance to get off the floor and reach overhead on the regular." — Dunlop
Going Back to Basics
"Eating whole foods, drinking water, spending time outside, getting enough sleep, and making space to just be. In an already complex and busy world, there's no need to overcomplicate things. I have a feeling that our society will continue to develop a new and greater appreciation for slow and simple living." — Schmitt
"Looking ahead, I think we are going to hear more people work their way towards intuitive eating and creating SUSTAINABLE eating and lifestyle habits rather than counting on a 30-/60-/90-day cleanse or eating plan. I also think meditation and sound healing will find a bigger place at home, in school, and in corporate wellness. No longer is meditation a hippie-dippie experience but, I believe, a critical element in stress and anxiety management for both grown-ups and kids alike! I've incorporated sound healing music into our bedtime routine for myself and my son. It has worked wonders in getting us off to sleep by lowering BPM—and any lingering bedtime stress or anxiety." — Chen