Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Is Your Health Fad History?

 

Paleo. No sugar, Turmeric. Gluten-free. CoQ10. Omega 3. Resveratol. Non-GMO. Drinking vinegar to balance out the body’s pH. And endless variants and chelations and super-duper-brain-activity goodies later … these are the fads of today. The fads of yesterday are endless, marching back into history. Remember low sodium? Macrobiotic diets? A tablespoon of bran a day? Garlic? Anti-oxidants? Cod liver oil? Yum!

I was remarking to @susanquinn that health-fad lovers all share the same gullible desire to believe the “experts,” to believe that there are shortcuts to long and healthy lives. And that, of course, anyone promoting a fad today has a history of promoting fads in the past — fads that clearly were not, in the end, supported by data. Which means that the vast majority of people (yes, even good people) do not choose to learn from their own experiences.

So let’s have it, Ricochetti! What are the fads you have tried in the past and then abandoned? Here’s my list: Omega 3s. Immunocal. Resveratol.

Let’s hear it!

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There are 62 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Gluten free. I’d like to abandon it. Man, would I ever love to abandon it.

    Personally, I’m waiting for the all-chocolate diet. I’d like to get into that fad for a week or two.

    • #1
    • October 16, 2019, at 7:49 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  2. iWe Reagan
    iWe Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Gluten free. I’d like to abandon it. Man, would I ever love to abandon it.

    Obviously there are many real people who actually need to be gluten free. At least 1% of the people who ARE gluten-free!

    • #2
    • October 16, 2019, at 7:59 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Omega-3, flax seed meal, low dose aspirin, glucosamine chondroitin.

     

    • #3
    • October 16, 2019, at 8:39 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Metalheaddoc Member

    I think that people fall for fads not so much because they think they will enhance their health, but rather because they are addicted to the idea that they have “special” knowledge. People like to think they know more/better than their peers. Whether it’s food and diet fads, kooky conspiracy theories or political movements, people like to think they are special and privy to secret, insider info.

    Myself included, unfortunately… I am still taking CoQ10 and Omega-3s. I have fallen for nearly every muscle building/fat burning supplement fad in the last 25 years. All the stuff hawked in the muscle mags. (Ultimate Orange! Ephedra/Caffeine/ASA stack! anything made by MuscleTech! Feels like Deca!) Creatine has panned out as a solid supplement. But most everything else just Hoovered moolah out of my wallet. 

     

    • #4
    • October 16, 2019, at 8:45 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  5. She Thatcher
    She

    My general approach is to ignore all the hype and hysteria about what I must eat, and what I mustn’t eat, to be fairly knowledgeable about what I am eating, and to vary my diet. I don’t think I’ve ever gone after a “fad” unless for good reason.

    We have, however, had some interesting times, as Mr. She is very allergic to dairy protein, with a reaction of the anaphylactic sort. He’s also very allergic to corn oil, with a reaction of an unpleasant digestive sort. You can’t believe what foods have dairy products in them (most of the ones labeled “non-dairy” for starters, and how many foods have corn oil in them.

    So, 40 years ago, I was making my own soymilk (foulest substance on earth, but not too bad as an ingredient in cooking), and soy cheese (not quite so bad) and doing the non-dairy thing before it was even a thing. We had tremendous adventures with food, and I’ve still got an impressive selection of weird cookbooks, from the days when it was a bootstrap operation. Now, I can just hit the vegan section of the supermarket, and when it comes to “coffee-whitener,” and “liquid for cereal,” I’m the one who has trouble finding the actual milk and cream for myself, among the almond, oat, rice, coconut, soy, pea, and various other products now available.

    Mr. She had a cholesterol scare a number of years ago, and (of course) had a bad reaction to the prescribed statin (he can’t take any of them without serious side effects). So we spent a couple of years on a low-fat diet, eating cholesterol-busting foods. (I suppose this is the closest we’ve come to faddishness.) We ate a lot of TVP and “dried” products I got from a place I called the “Cardboard Food Company,” and it was quite a challenge to make some of them remotely edible. We survived though, got his cholesterol under control, and have pulled back considerably since then while still trying to eat reasonably healthily.

    Although there’s so much more variety now, and it’s so much easier to find foods we can both eat, I sort of miss the old days. My dairy-free cheesecake was such a triumph! (At least, we thought so at the time . . . .)

    • #5
    • October 16, 2019, at 8:46 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    I think insoluble fiber is the most underrated food element in terms of health benefits, and I dearly wish I could reach the recommended amount of 8 grams every day (the recommended amount is 25 grams, two-thirds of which are soluble fiber, so we’re supposed to get roughly 8 grams of insoluble fiber each day). I tried for months and never even came close. That was with a supplemental aid. The supplements have “dietary fiber,” which is 2 grams of soluble fiber and 1 gram of insoluble. Soluble is really easy to get, but insoluble is very difficult. It’s possible, but you won’t have room to eat anything else. :-) Lots of bran cereal. :-)

    Don’t ask me why the FDA combines these two types of fiber. They do completely different things. Soluble fiber goes into the bloodstream and binds to bad cholesterol and ushers it out of your system. Insoluble fiber works only in the colon. It’s essential to good health. It takes a lot of bad stuff out that can cause problems such as diverticulitis–which is caused by tiny morsels of food getting stuck in the pockets of the colon.

    Years ago I followed one reporter’s struggle to avoid the statin drugs by increasing his fiber intake and exercise. This project he undertook and had his readers accompany him was hilarious. But the funniest moment came when he consulted a gastroenterologist in Canada who told him, “The only thing I can say is that when you get your food, throw the food away and eat the box. That’s the only way you’ll ever get enough insoluble fiber into your diet.” :-)

    Which leads me to the whole-grains mania. . . . Please, unless those whole grains have insoluble fiber, don’t bother me with them. :-)

    I’ve given up.

    • #6
    • October 16, 2019, at 9:30 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Arahant Member

    MarciN (View Comment):
    “The only thing I can say is that when you get your food, throw the food away and eat the box.

    Pica.

    • #7
    • October 16, 2019, at 9:34 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    I did the Atkins diet in the ’90s and ’00s. And I’m more or less still doing it, though it is called keto now. I mainly stay on it in order to menace vegans. 

    • #8
    • October 16, 2019, at 9:40 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    I did the Atkins diet in the ’90s and ’00s. And I’m more or less still doing it, though it is called keto now. I mainly stay on it in order to menace vegans.

    That and the ribs and brisket and all the meat.

    • #9
    • October 16, 2019, at 9:44 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. Brian Watt Member

    • #10
    • October 16, 2019, at 9:54 PM PST
    • 17 likes
  11. Al French, Count of Clackamas Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Omega-3, flax seed meal, low dose aspirin, glucosamine chondroitin.

     

    I did the low dose aspirin for years because my father was part of the original study that determined it was beneficial.

    I tried to generally follow government nutrition guidelines until I read A Big Fat a Surprise (highly recommended) and discovered that the government (gasp) lied.

    • #11
    • October 16, 2019, at 10:14 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  12. Gary McVey Contributor

    I think the OP is a little tough on the “experts”, putting the word in scare quotes. Actually, the actual doctors and scientists have usually been the ones blowing the whistle on quack fads, like Hoxsey therapy and Laetrile, and too many populists have been too quick to dismiss anything the FDA or the AMA says as being establishment lies. The docs do dismiss a lot, but then there is a lot out there worth dismissing. If anything, they’re getting a little too loose, fearful of insulting their more credulous patients, who are vastly quicker to reach for a megaphone and a lawsuit than they used to be. 

    • #12
    • October 16, 2019, at 10:55 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  13. Douglas Pratt Member

    As Glenn Reynolds says, if exercise was a pill, everyone would take it. 

    Resveratrol is a good excuse for a glass of wine. CoQ10 does seem to help; at least, I miss it if I stop taking it. My regimen of vitamins and supplements (handfuls of each) isn’t really applicable to anyone else because I’ve had a gastric bypass and need the greater amounts because of limited absorption. I recently saw a nutritionist who suggested that I add a cup of oatmeal with some flax seed mixed in; apparently flax is the new silver bullet. Too early to tell if it’s doing any good but it’s pleasant.

    • #13
    • October 17, 2019, at 2:17 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  14. Podkayne of Israel Member

    Uchhh. My mother, of blessed memory, was a graduate of Penn State’s Home Ec program, and I was brought up with the philosophy that a policy of moderation in diet, along with portion control and regular moderate exercise, was best. Don’t try to jimmy the machine.

    My own adolescent deviations into dieting led me headlong into a major eating disorder that totally warped my relationship to food for about 10 years, so I try to stick to basics, plus what we learned in nursing school. We eat too much sugar nowadays, too much fat, and more than enough protein. Fiber is good for the digestive system, and probably good for regulation of cholesterol. Fasting is not healthy and does not tend to work long term.

    There is no magic solution for everything, there are no panaceas. Life is short and leads but to the grave.

    • #14
    • October 17, 2019, at 2:40 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  15. Randy Webster Member

    Podkayne of Israel (View Comment):
    There is no magic solution for everything, there are no panaceas. Life is short and leads but to the grave.

    Gee, Podkayne, you’re mighty cheerful today.

    • #15
    • October 17, 2019, at 3:30 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  16. Podkayne of Israel Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Podkayne of Israel (View Comment):
    There is no magic solution for everything, there are no panaceas. Life is short and leads but to the grave.

    Gee, Podkayne, you’re mighty cheerful today.

    That is what passes for good cheer in my family. 😬

    • #16
    • October 17, 2019, at 4:31 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  17. Douglas Pratt Member

    Podkayne of Israel (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Podkayne of Israel (View Comment):
    There is no magic solution for everything, there are no panaceas. Life is short and leads but to the grave.

    Gee, Podkayne, you’re mighty cheerful today.

    That is what passes for good cheer in my family. 😬

    Just little buckets o’sunshine, you guys.

    My experience is that everyone is different, and there are few basic principles that work for everyone. 

    • #17
    • October 17, 2019, at 5:52 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Podkayne of Israel (View Comment):
    There is no magic solution for everything, there are no panaceas. Life is short and leads but to the grave.

    Actually I agree with you, @podkayneofisrael! Although I’ve strayed with experiments (decaf coffee, fish oil, small aspirin), I take a multi-vitamin, calcium and D, and Super B Complex (which is supposed to hold off hearing loss). After years of losing bone density (which I can’t afford), I got serious about the calcium and vitamin D; I couldn’t believe it when the doc told me my density had stabilized! So I believe some of the stuff works. Moderation, as boring as it sounds, is usually the key.

    And I also think the reason most people try stuff is to hold off death, plain and simple.

    • #18
    • October 17, 2019, at 5:58 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  19. Stad Thatcher

    iWe: What are the fads YOU have tried in the past and then abandoned?

    The no carb diet. It works like a champ, but it’s hard (for me) to maintain for more than a few days at a time (no beer!). However, if you want to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, you can’t beat it.

    • #19
    • October 17, 2019, at 6:11 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  20. OldPhil Coolidge

    At least one glass of wine or a beer every day works for me. But no more than two.

    Besides that, eat balanced meals, get a decent amount of exercise (golf, walking, swimming laps), and splurge on desserts a couple times per week. 

    • #20
    • October 17, 2019, at 6:24 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  21. Full Size Tabby Member

    Does it count as a “fad” if it was the recommendation of the U.S. Government?

    The U.S. Government recommended (1980’s) a diet of little-to-no fat and lots of carbohydrates. I never fully embraced the no fats part, but suffered through eating “low fat” and “lite” versions of foods, and ate lots of carbohydrates because fresh bread and pasta are tasty! 

    The almost total reversal of the “consensus” on fats and carbohydrates has led me to ignore almost every diet pronouncement, and just eat smaller portions of what I want.

    I can’t even begin to consider a “no carb” diet because fresh bread (Mrs. Tabby makes most of the bread we eat) and pasta are so tasty. 

    • #21
    • October 17, 2019, at 6:36 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  22. Kay of MT Member

    @podkayneofisrael, I had problems with foods as a child, mom would fed me something and I’d up-chuck it. Nobody knew why this happened. And there were certain foods I hated the taste. I went to live with grandparents when I was about 11, was fed foods straight out of the garden, and milk straight out of the cow. And chicken straight from my grandmother’s hatchet. Cooked, of course. I became fairly healthy and rarely ill. Things went down hill again when I went back to CA.

    My first born was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 13 months having nearly died from malnutrition, and I began learning about foods and their reaction in your body. After nearly 60 years I consider myself a near expert. My food problems still exist, both my daughters, grandchildren and now great grandchildren have problems, apparently inherited from my father, who was adopted so have no information on his original family. My mother’s family have none of these problems that I am aware.

    One of my most serious problems are foods that contain vasoactive amines, i.e. tyramine, phenyiethylamine which is associated with exacerbations of migraine headaches. These are mainly fermented foods with tyramine, being the byproduct formed by bacterial breakdown of amino acid. And the worse of the lot is SOY, and soy products. If anybody is interested in a list of the foods that contain tyramine, P.M. me and I will e-mail you an information sheet.

    BYW Poddy, I just reread the book “Podkayne of Mars” in 50 years, and had forgotten most of it. Do you have a younger brother named Clark?

    • #22
    • October 17, 2019, at 6:39 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  23. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Does it count as a “fad” if it was the recommendation of the U.S. Government?

    The U.S. Government recommended (1980’s) a diet of little-to-no fat and lots of carbohydrates. I never fully embraced the no fats part, but suffered through eating “low fat” and “lite” versions of foods, and ate lots of carbohydrates because fresh bread and pasta are tasty!

    And they can’t figure out why there’s an obesity epidemic!

    I guess the only “fad” I’ve adopted is low-carb, high protein, fat-agnostic, about five years ago.

    Worked. I’d already dropped about 35 pounds, then added in weight training and dropped 30 more.

    Meat and butter. Remarkably painless diet. Plus weight training. I wish I’d discovered this 30 years ago.

    (I do miss the carbs. There are a bunch of ladies at church who are real carb-pushers. Always showing up in the office with baked goods.)

    • #23
    • October 17, 2019, at 7:00 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  24. Boss Mongo Member

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Guinness makes you strong…

    • #24
    • October 17, 2019, at 8:14 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  25. Arahant Member

    I tried exercise once. It was a passing fad.

    • #25
    • October 17, 2019, at 8:24 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  26. Bob Thompson Member

    I stopped eating eggs every day at the behest of the government, then the government changed what it was saying, so I eat eggs every day. I’m sorry for the many days I missed. I rarely pay attention to the government and I’ve been very healthy all my life.

    • #26
    • October 17, 2019, at 8:56 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  27. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Stad (View Comment):

    iWe: What are the fads YOU have tried in the past and then abandoned?

    The no carb diet. It works like a champ, but it’s hard (for me) to maintain for more than a few days at a time (no beer!). However, if you want to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, you can’t beat it.

    Whiskey. But drink it slow and late. 

    • #27
    • October 17, 2019, at 9:01 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  28. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Does it count as a “fad” if it was the recommendation of the U.S. Government?

    The U.S. Government recommended (1980’s) a diet of little-to-no fat and lots of carbohydrates. I never fully embraced the no fats part, but suffered through eating “low fat” and “lite” versions of foods, and ate lots of carbohydrates because fresh bread and pasta are tasty!

    The almost total reversal of the “consensus” on fats and carbohydrates has led me to ignore almost every diet pronouncement, and just eat smaller portions of what I want.

    I can’t even begin to consider a “no carb” diet because fresh bread (Mrs. Tabby makes most of the bread we eat) and pasta are so tasty.

    Government diets are worse than fad diets in that everyone is forced to learn them. 

    • #28
    • October 17, 2019, at 9:04 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    TBA

    Stad (View Comment):

    iWe: What are the fads YOU have tried in the past and then abandoned?

    The no carb diet. It works like a champ, but it’s hard (for me) to maintain for more than a few days at a time (no beer!). However, if you want to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, you can’t beat it.

    Whiskey. But drink it slow and late. 

    Oh, and @BrianWatt ‘s Guinness has quite low carbs as beers go. 

    • #29
    • October 17, 2019, at 9:10 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. Vance Richards Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Guinness makes you strong…

    My wife’s grandparents all came over from Ireland. We saw a letter that her great-grandmother in Ireland had sent saying that the doctors told her to just have a pint a day. That was for a little old lady so a guy my size should probably be downing . . . more.

    • #30
    • October 17, 2019, at 9:43 AM PST
    • 13 likes