By: Emily DiNuzzo
Detox products claim to do something the body does naturally. Pixabay
Quick fixes and magic pills are just that — they don’t produce long-lasting results that will impact your health and life in the long-term. It’s tempting to assume specific products can get you what you want, be it a slim figure, better sleep, or a clearer mental state.
In reality, obtaining most of these things comes down to a combination of healthy practices, not just dollar signs. Here are some health and fitness products you shouldn’t waste your money on and don’t need to include in your everyday life.
Sweat creams and suits aren’t burning your fat for you. macniak/iStock
Products like sweat suits and sweat creams claim to help “enhance your workout,” improve your circulation, and make you sweat more, according to one product’s description.
Sweating is the process that helps you stay cool when your body heats up from exercise, hot weather, and even embarrassment, MedlinePlus reports. It is not, as CNN reports, a sign that you’re burning more calories.
Some of the creams are also sold with a belt so people can wear both during their workout. The explanation on the site for on product says, “it takes energy to sweat, more energy than most people might think. And like all energy consuming processes, sweating helps burn calories.”
Although your body does work to burn calories and cool itself down, warming up takes even more energy, according to the Naked Scientists. This energy can help you lose water weight, which you will gain back due to the fact that fat itself is not targetable, Consumers Compare reported.
Evidence does not back up the health-claims for salt lamps. Pixabay
Salt lamps may look nice, but they can cost a pretty penny, retailing for anywhere from $15 to $70 on Amazon. The lamps are advertised to, as one brand words it, “emit negative ions that fight against positively charged particles” and “help[s] eliminate allergens, smoke, dander, pollen and other air pollutants.”
INSIDER spoke with physician and health and wellness expert Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, who said that the health claims for these lamps haven’t been backed up by science.
“Patients seeking alternative therapies or treatment modalities to aid in improving their breathing should really explore stronger evidence based options with their physicians,” she said.
And you shouldn’t back these products up with your cash either. Today also reported that there haven’t been any large studies to confirm the ion claim.
Waist trainers can cause damage to your organs. Gotoly/Amazon
Waist trainers don’t actually “train” your body. In fact, Business Insider reported that the garment isn’t recommended for long-term use by both doctors and personal trainers.
“If I were to take a rubber band and wrap it around my finger tightly and leave it there for an hour, I’m going to have this indentation in my soft tissue, but it’s not going to be permanent,” spinal surgeon Dr. Paul Jeffords told USA Today. “An hour later, my finger is going to look normal again.”
According to the Daily Mail, one brand even settled a class action lawsuit for over claims related to their advertised weight loss results.
Although the corset-like trainers can only morph your body temporarily, the long-term damage they can do is what doctors are worried about. According to USA Today, the waist trainers “strangle organs” and can cause permanent damage to the spine, bones, and nerves.
Highly-caffeinated drinks won’t burn the calories for you. Pixabay
There are tons of creative ways to burn calories — you can do so while you sleep, and even during relaxing activities.
INSIDER previously reported, however, that the most important calorie-burning activity is activity.
ABC News reported that one brand’s combined caffeine content — more than an eight-ounce cup of joe — and metabolism-boosting ingredients are the reason it’s a “calorie burning drink.”
Doctors told ABC News, however, that the evidence cited points only to short-term changes in the metabolism and that, “[it] does not appear to change basal metabolic rate over time, although it may ‘rev’ up metabolism briefly.”
Registered dietitian and nutritionist Malina Linkas Malkani, creator of the Wholitarian Lifestyle, told INSIDER that the increased metabolism from these types of products makes sense. She is, however, concerned about the caffeine content, especially for people who might easily go over the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 400 mg per day.
“In addition to potentially exacerbating existing medical issues like high blood pressure and gastritis, exceeding 400 mg of caffeine per day can disrupt sleep, and there is a growing body of evidence that points to poor sleep as a new risk factor for obesity,” she said.
A lack of sleep is a not so small price to pay for drinks that, according to the health app Fooducate, won’t burn the calories for you alone. In order for “calorie burning drinks” to work, you already have to be dieting and exercising.
Detox teas don’t rid your body of toxins. Pixabay
Tea has many health benefits, but detox products are complete BS. The “weight” you lose when drinking this tea is called water weight, according to Health. This is not the same as losing fat, and your body will return to normal once you stop drinking the tea and go back to your old eating habits.
In addition to just being a temporary fix, people have also reported getting sick from the teas.
It’s safest to get the health befits from whole mushrooms. picturepartners/Shutterstock
People have put some strange things in their coffee (like butter) for the reported health benefits, and the newest trend is adding in mushroom elixirs. Fox News reported that one brand specifically uses mushroom extract powders to create a highly concentrated form of mushrooms’ health-promoting compounds.
Although there is research that points to mushrooms’ medicinal benefits, Health contributing nutrition editor and registered dietitian Cynthia Sass told Fox News that anything medicinal could have potential side effects and interactions. For example, chagas can cause blood thinning, and maitake mushrooms can interact with medications.
Dietitian Malkani added that medicinal mushrooms should only be taken under the guidance of a qualified health professional. Additionally, you don’t need to take this product to get the health benefits of fungi.
“While calorie for calorie, culinary mushrooms may not contain as many vitamins and minerals as other vegetables (like leafy greens), mushrooms are nutrient-dense and contain a very high number of protective phytochemicals that may offer cardiovascular and immune-boosting benefits,” Malkani said.
Eating clay won’t clean out your system any more than “detox” teas will. Uclays/Amazon
People are eating clay in the name of wellness, including celebrities. In 2014, actress Shailene Woodley told Into The Gloss that she eats clay and claimed it’s “one of the best things you can put into your body.”
According to Okeke-Igbokwe, there haven’t been any large-scale studies to back up the claim that eating clay will remove toxins from the body.
“One must realize that certain organ systems i.e (kidneys/liver) already play an integral role in helping to eliminate toxins from the body,” she said. “Nonetheless, it is really not essential to seek out such supplementary health products to ‘detox’, if you are generally in a good state of health and the aforementioned organs are in good condition.”
So whether it be clay, tea, or any other supplement, you don’t need to spend money on something that your body does naturally.
Buzzwords aside, sprays won’t keep you from feeling hungry. Shutterstock/Subbotina Anna
There are more than 250 results on Amazon for “diet weight loss spray.” The ingredients for these sprays include things like sea kelp, liver extract, witch hazel, and aloe vera, among other buzzy products. Although the ingredients are trendy, Malkani, the dietitian, said she would not recommend these sprays to any of her clients.
“There is no evidence that any of the diluted substances in this […] product ‘balance metabolism’ or ‘relieve the symptoms of a reducing diet,'” she said. “It’s helpful for consumers to know that there is no quick fix or magic pill for weight loss except nutrition and activity-related lifestyle changes.”
For a product to be labeled “zero calories” it has to have less than five calories. Pixabay
Processed zero-calorie products line the shelves of grocery stores. If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. According to the Food and Drug Administration, calorie-free products are only required to have less than five calories per serving.
This means that zero calorie products, like cooking sprays and some condiments, do contain calories which we use to measure food’s energy, INSIDER previously reported.
According to dietitian Malkani, some zero-calorie products are sweetened with sucralose, a product not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate which supplies no calories. “Evidence shows that just about everyone can safely consume sucralose,” she said. “Personally, I recommend that people avoid non-nutritive sweeteners including sucralose.”
Malkani explained that these types of artificially-sweetened products can “train” the palette to prefer sweetened foods thus making it hard to taste that natural sweetness in minimally processed foods. Essentially, products made with this ingredient can desensitize you to sugar.
As with any big purchase, you should do your due diligence before buying health products. Okeke-Igbokwe said the big question to keep in mind is this: what exactly does the scientific evidence show?
“Based upon supporting studies/evidence and close consultation with a physician, one can then move forward with making a well guided and informed decision about obtaining any health product,” Okeke-Igbokwe said.
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