TikTok has been taking social media by storm. However, it’s also been disseminating a tremendous amount of nutrition and health misinformation. And some of it is downright dangerous.
Here are four popular TikTok trends. Read on to learn if they live up to the hype or whether you should avoid this viral nutrition trend.
One of the latest TikTok trends is dropping liquid chlorophyll into water. TikTok influencers claim that this helps stimulate the immune system, detox the blood, deodorize sweat glands, energize the body, cleanse the intestines and prevent cancer.
Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants that undergo photosynthesis, including some algae, green leafy vegetables, wheatgrass and green tea. The supplemental liquid chlorophyll can be derived from a variety of sources including alfalfa, algae and mulberry leaf. Some liquid chlorophyll supplements are made from a semisynthetic water-soluble version of chlorophyll that combines sodium and copper salts with chlorophyll and is known as chlorophyllin. This form of chlorophyll is supposed to be more absorbable by the body.
If you look at the science, there’s very little research to back up the claims of dropping liquid chlorophyll into water. One 2009 study found that chlorophyllin has the potential to be effective against cancer but researchers concluded that more research is needed. A pilot study conducted in 2004 looked at the effects of taking in wheatgrass, which lead to a reduced number of blood transfusions needed in people with a blood disorder called thalassemia. However, researchers pointed out that they were unsure if chlorophyll was the reason for these results.
It should be noted that there are side effects of consuming liquid chlorophyll including sensitivity to light, tummy aches and dermatitis. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid taking it.
Putting Garlic in Your Nose
Several TikTokers have been claiming that sticking a clove of garlic inside your nostrils can clear your sinuses and get rid of a stuffy nose. Further, one TikTok user claimed that doing this is not dangerous.
However, putting a fresh garlic clove in your nose isn’t safe and can actually have adverse effects. This is because garlic contains natural oils that can irritate the skin around the nose. In some people, the irritation can be worse than others. In addition, you can get the garlic lodged in your nostril, which can lead to a nasal obstruction — which can lead to a trip to the ER or your doctor! Plus, you’ll probably have that garlicky smell lingering for some time.
In contrast, eating garlic or adding it to your food does have benefits. Garlic has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and even small amount of numerous nutrients like selenium, manganese and vitamin B6. If you want to get some of these benefits, then add garlic to dishes — don’t stick it up your nose.
Cucumber Dipped in Sugar
Another viral trend on TikTok is dipping cucumbers in sugar, which happens to taste like watermelon — or so numerous influencers claim. By dipping your healthy veggie in sugar, you’re adding unnecessary added sugar to your day. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, no more than 10% of total daily calories should come from added sugar. That’s a max of 12.5 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Why not eat regular watermelon and plain cucumbers without contributing to your daily amount of added sugar?
So instead of sugar, some TikTok users are opting to dip cucumbers in stevia — so now you’ll get the watermelon flavor without the added sugar. It truly is a silly habit, which is trying to say fruit is “bad,” when it really has so many nutritional and health benefits. Two cups of watermelon, for example, contains 80 calories, is an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C and also provides lesser amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, thiamin and phosphorus.
Watermelon also contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant also found in processed tomato products, which have been linked to helping reduce blood pressure in folks who have prehypertension or hypertension. The fruit is also composed of 92% water, which contributes to your daily fluid needs. So please, enjoy your watermelon and cucumbers without sugar or stevia and save the sugar for foods that really need it — like oatmeal or your morning cup of Joe.
Instead of steeping tea leaves in hot water, this latest TikTok trend has you steeping whole lettuce leaves in hot water. One influencer added a peppermint tea bag, for flavor. The claim of this trend is that it helps you sleep. However, there’s very little scientific evidence (only the influencer’s testimony) that it works as a sleep aid.
The studies that have been conducted look at the extract derived from romaine lettuce. The antioxidant phenolics that these lettuce extracts contain are thought to protect from the oxidant stress caused by sleep disturbance. Steeping lettuce in hot water and calling it a sleep aid is an exaggerated claim from what the initial studies are showing.
There’s a lot of nutrition misinformation swirling on the internet and TikTok by non-credentialed individuals. Some of this information is not dangerous (go on, steep lettuce in hot water if you wish), but some is downright dangerous. Before trying these viral recommendations, do your research or ask your local registered dietitian or health professional.
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Viral TikTok Nutrition Trends: Which Should You Avoid? originally appeared on usnews.com