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"Health Cures" That are a Waste of Money

Experts warn to stay away from these products and procedures
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

There are several medical procedures, fad diets and thousands of products on the shelves that advertise a miracle cure for staying young and healthy, but most don't work. In fact, many don't offer the benefits consumers are seeking and are just a waste of money, experts say. Eat This, Not That! Health talked to medical professionals who reveal these five health trends and products to avoid. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Alkaline Diets

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The Alkaline diet has become a trend that claims to help fight cancer and lose weight by eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, soy foods and wine that can change your pH balance. But does it really work? According to Dr. Santoshi Billakota, MD it does not. "Your body is naturally made up of basic and acidic substances. Your body's baseline pH is 7.35-7.45 which makes it slightly basic. If your body becomes too acidic or too basic, it will autoregulate to its baseline pH by either retaining/blowing off more CO2 via the lungs or retaining or getting rid of acid via the kidneys. So alkaline diets or water really are not useful in any way." 

2

Colon Cleanses/Hydrotherapy

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Digestive health is key in feeling good, but a colon cleanse may not be the answer you're looking for, says Dr. Billakota. "A good bowel movement just makes everyone feel great. However, there is no scientific basis for colon cleanses. It is based on the old thought that old stool can be trapped within the folds of the intestines and release "toxins" into the bloodstream. We now know that this theory is totally false and the natural peristalsis of your intestine will clear out the bowels as your body needs. Colon cleanses can cause peristaltic dysfunction and also deplete your body of electrolytes, leading to cramps, confusion and even seizures."

3

Gum Grafts

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A gum graft procedure is when a small amount of tissue is placed in an area where little or no gum tissue exists, but pediatric dentist William Kemper says to avoid doing a gum graft at all costs. "As a dentist some procedures are very important and the patient should get them done straight away. But over the years I have even started noticing a rise in demand for gum grafts. As people grow older, it is common knowledge among dentists that they will notice slight changes in their gums. Gum recession is not a disease and it is as natural as getting wrinkles on the skin as you grow older. But people have started to get gum grafts. Let me put an end to all the rumors by saying gum grafts are not healthy and they don't make teeth healthier. On the contrary, it is just a cosmetic procedure. Don't fall for it."

4

Apple Cider Vinegar May Have Some Benefits But It's Not Some Miracle Cure

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Some people swear by taking a shot of apple cider vinegar a day to help stay healthy, but Dr. Elizabeth Trattner A.P, DOM advises against it. She says, "apple cider vinegar was really hot back in the '80s and I am seeing a huge resurgence in it again with unreasonable health claims. There is a small amount of clinical data that demonstrates some benefit for lipid reduction, but that is all. Apple cider vinegar has good data on lipid reduction and acetic acid(vinegar) will load the glycemic load in a meal, which in theory will help with weight. Acetic acid also has antibacterial properties like killing e coli, but that is vinegar not apple cider vinegar. Health claims are huge marketing claims and wellness has become a multibillion dollar industry. I have never seen so many false claims with food and health. I believe in the power of good food, a balanced diet and a diet that is personalized for each individual patient. I do not promote apple cider vinegar in my practice due to the fact I have a high patient population with GI issues and autoimmune issues. Fermented foods bother these patients so it is just off the table. If they are out and that is the only vinegar it's fine. I prefer water and lemon which converts to bicarbonate in the stomach and ginger for my patients which has definitive immunomodulatory effects and in TCM is a digestive tonic. I think if you're healthy it's fine. After being in this industry food and faddism is a huge multibillion dollar industry. Apple cider vinegar is now touted like a tonic. I do believe if you have cardiovascular issues and are a diabetic this can hurt but every year it is something. Coconut, acai, kombucha, seaweed was huge during the macro years and now with Paleo and Keto its back and everywhere Also, there are so many foods that have amazing clinical evidence for helping health issues but apple cider vinegar just doesn't make the cut."

5

Diet Supplements

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Many Americans turn to diet pills to help lose weight, but Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D. Professor of Public Health New Mexico State University strongly advises against taking them. "One of the most wasteful and rising trends is the use of diet supplements. From $1 billion at the beginning of the 21st century, in 2021, we could be looking at more than $30 billion in sales of supplements. No one tests these supplements for efficacy and they are not well regulated. They create a false sense of security and wellbeing among people. In fact, studies show that most of the common diet supplements have negligible effects or possibly, harmful effects. The worst among these diet supplements could be weight loss supplements that can have many side effects and harmful long term effects. For example, too much vitamin consumption can cause hypervitaminosis – which can manifest both as acute or chronic effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain to long term effects such as bone destruction, vision loss, skin changes, etc. Some supplements can be even more dangerous as they interact with medications that people consume- e.g. Vitamin K can reduce the effect of blood thinners, some antioxidants can reduce the effect of chemotherapy. While the government warns about these on their website the regulation remains poor. Now, we also know how some supplements can cause a straight trip to the ER. More than 20,000 ER/ED visits in the U.S could be related to supplements. Unfortunately, they are marketed heavily and consumers are attracted because so many people want to lose weight, feel healthier, and not seek proper medical care when needed." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. . Read more
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