The health community is one that is constantly changing as our scientific knowledge expands. Our idea of health and how to be healthy is always evolving. Can you believe at one time doctors actually recommended smoking cigarettes? While we generally have a good grasp on what’s healthy and what’s not, that doesn’t stop new diets and health trends from emerging each year, especially as experts continue to study the effects of different foods and lifestyle choices.
As a result of all these changes, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn there’s been a lot of controversy over the years. And with an overload of information out there, it can be overwhelming and sometimes hard to know who to listen to, especially when opinions contradict each other. While we can all agree on some things (e.g. smoking is bad for our health), there are many health topics that researchers and experts still can’t agree on. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest health controversies that still exist to this day…
Fasting is resurfacing as a new and trendy diet, but it’s actually been around for thousands of years. Despite it’s long reign, fasting is still highly controversial and intensely debated. While it has proven to be successful with weight loss, most experts agree it isn’t a healthy, long term solution. A better way to lose weight is to adopt healthy habits that will sustain weight loss over time. People also tend to have a strong urge to reward themselves after “hard work,” so there’s a tendency to eat more food when the fast is over. Harvard Health Publishing says the dropout rate for fasting averages around 38-percent.
According to WebMD, the biggest debate is around whether or not fasting can detoxify the body. The source says there’s no evidence that fasting will help detox the body, but Joel Fuhrman, MD, argues that because Americans eat so many processed foods, the body does need in this department and fasting is the way to do so. He also states that fasting has been used for religious and spiritual purification for centuries.
Fasting has also been found to have a beneficial effect on diet psychology for some people. Some experts believe it can boost immune function and reduce inflammation associated with chronic disease. However, according to Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, there is no strong evidence that fasting adds any health benefits other than it being a successful weight-loss strategy.