9 TikTok Health Trends to Avoid
While some of these trends are just silly, others can have dangerous side effects. The next time you're scrolling through TikTok, be sure to skip these nine ideas.
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TikTok is filled with influencers showcasing nutrition and health information — but much of it is sensationalized and sometimes even downright dangerous. Here are nine TikTok trends you should avoid.
Putting Garlic in Your Nose
Numerous TikTokers have been sticking garlic cloves inside their nostrils claiming it can clear your sinuses and get rid of a stuffy nose. One TikToker even claimed that doing this isn’t dangerous! However, sticking a fresh garlic clove up your nostril can have dangerous health consequences. The garlic contains natural oils that can irritate the skin around the nose. Plus, you can get the garlic clove lodged in your nostril, which can lead to a nasal obstruction and, even worse, a trip to the emergency room! Instead, enjoy a clove or two of garlic with your food — not up your nose! Garlic does have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and even small amounts of numerous nutrients and help enhance the flavor of many dishes.
Steeping Lettuce in Water
TikTok influencers have been steeping romaine lettuce in hot water (and sometimes adding a little peppermint tea) claiming it will help you sleep. However, there is very little scientific evidence that this trick works as a sleep aid. This claim stemmed from one study that looked at the extract derived from romaine lettuce that is involved in the metabolism of sleep. That does not mean you can jump to a conclusion that steeping romaine lettuce leaves in water will put you to bed. Although doing this isn’t dangerous per se, it just seems like a waste of a crispy piece of lettuce that can be used for more delicious purposes.
Another interesting TikTok trend has been named "Honey Jelly," or "Honey Challenges," by influencers. This challenge has you pouring honey or corn syrup into a small plastic bottle, adding flavor or color from candy or a powdered drink mix, then freezing it. It can also be done with just plain honey. Once it’s frozen, you squeeze the partially frozen concoction directly into your mouth and chew it until it melts. Because honey and corn syrup are so high in sugar, they won’t completely freeze, which results in a chewable, jelly-like substance that has amazed TikTokers. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, much of the U.S. population overconsumes added sugar, which is recommended to be less than 10% of your total calories. Instead of popping added sugar in your mouth, try freezing fresh berries or grapes for a more nutritional frozen snack.
Drinking Chlorophyll Water
Another trend, showcased by TikTok influencers to celebrities, is dropping liquid chlorophyll into water claiming it will help stimulate the immune system, detox the blood, deodorize sweat glands, energize the body, cleanse the intestines and prevent cancer. That’s a lot of claims for those tiny drops of liquid! Unfortunately, there is little research to back up these claims. And there are also side effects to taking liquid chlorophyll, including sensitivity to light, stomach aches and dermatitis. Those who are pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid consuming it.
The hashtag #WhatIEatiIADay has become quite popular among wellness influencers to showcase what they usually eat in one day. Many of these videos and posts of #WhatIEatInADay promote daily menus that are inadequate to meet the nutritional and caloric needs of most people. (The hashtag has gone so far as to title popular posts "What I eat in a day — under 1,200 calories.") Although the message many wellness influencers are sending is "if you eat like me, you can look like me," this sort of messaging promotes and can contribute to disordered eating; it can also trigger those with a history of eating disorders. Your best bet is to steer clear of these TikTok posts and remove them from your feed.
Eating Cucumbers Dipped in Sugar
Did you know that if you dip a cucumber in sugar it allegedly tastes like watermelon? But why use your allotted daily amount of added sugar on a vegetable when you could just eat the actual fruit?! This silly TikTok trend even has some influencers dipping cukes in stevia to get the flavor of watermelon. If avoiding fruit is the purpose of this trend, it should be noted that according to the Dietary Guidelines, 85% of Americans don’t even meet the recommended daily amount of fruit. Instead of avoiding fruit, you should be enjoying more of it in order to reap the benefits of all the nourishment fruit provides.
This popular TikTok trend has folks guzzling the pre-workout powder without mixing it in liquid. This is an example of people thinking "more is better," but according to HealthyEats nutrition expert and sports dietitian Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, dry-scooping "in no way improves the action of the supplement and may, in fact, inhibit some of its effects." In addition, swallowing dry powder won’t help you stay hydrated, which is extremely important when you’re looking to perform your best. Angelo White’s advice: Fuel your workouts with calories from food instead of a stimulant, which is the active ingredient in most pre workout powders.
Finding Bugs in Strawberries
This trend has TikTok influencers showing videos of strawberries washed in saltwater resulting in tiny bugs coming out of them. Before you freak out and forgo strawberries, remember that finding bugs in fresh produce isn’t anything new. Strawberries are hand-picked and packed in the field directly into clamshell containers (the plastic containers you buy at the store). On occasion, a bug or worm may make its way into the packaging, but that’s not unusual. No one else handles or touches the berries again until you purchase them at the store. In addition, this can happen to any fresh fruit or vegetables. According to the Dietary Guidelines, about 85% of Americans don’t meet the daily recommendations for fruit. This means eating strawberries and other fruit has many health benefits that you may not be getting. The next time you have a fresh container of the beautiful berries, rinse them under cold, running water to remove any dirt, grit or small insects, and enjoy!
Sipping Energy Drinks
When middle and high school girls are asking to drink the latest TikTok trend energy drink, you know it’s a problem. The bevie Celsius is an energy drink being marketed as a wellness drink to help meet your goals. Ingredients include stronger-than-caffeine guarana seed extract and caffeinated green tea extract. Both mimic the perception that you have more energy, when in fact that "energy" is from a stimulant. Your best bet is to stick to good old water when working out and incorporate healthy pre-workout snacks like yogurt and fruit or crackers and peanut butter before your workout.