Why You Shouldn’t Believe Anything I Tell You

These days most of us spend an ample amount of time online. We read the posts about health and nutrition which pop up on our Facebook timelines, we take photos of interesting health articles is magazines and newspapers and we watch the tv documentaries usually titled something like “panorama, what’s really in our food”. The wealth of information available to us in bigger and better than ever, and we are being fed with various information almost all of the time wether we realise it or not. But simply accumulating information via these brief, parti pris sources can pose a bit of a problem…

The rise of click-bait health articles and shock-inducing made-for-the-masses TV shows means that otherwise sane people are gathering tidbits of advice and piecing them together, resulting in a Frankenstein of rituals which is presumed to be the ultimate healthy lifestyle. Meticulously drinking a certain number of green teas, eating a spoonful of peanut butter every morning, munching handfuls of blueberries after certain activities, chomping on raw garlic 3 times a day, timing mealtimes to a strict number of minutes and cutting food up in a particular fashion amongst other trivial rituals are just a few examples of some of the random, disconnected advice that these sorts of media outlets feed us. Is all of this any use? Maybe, but probably not as much as we might hope or think.

The isolated information we often receive via media sources can certainly be helpful when it comes to us making considered choices about our diet and lifestyle. But If we adopt all of the apparent tips and tricks to losing weight, being healthy and optimal, living longer, reducing stress and avoiding illness we can quite quickly find ourselves in a web of conflicting and confusing practices which could potentially end up doing us more harm than good!

So what can you believe?

Although the information written in the shock-headline health articles which all too often grab our attention may not necessarily be false, it is often presented in a very isolated context.
“Healthy urine is 95% water and is completely sterile. Drinking urine will hydrate you.” 
Does that mean to say that you must immediately start pissing into a beaker? Of course not! What I have failed to mention in my previous two sentences is that urine is also 5% waste and continually ingesting that waste is certainly not good for you. I’ve presented you with some information which although is completely true, is not necessarily presented as part of a larger picture. Articles like this I like to call ‘fluff’. They have some linty pieces of good-to-know information in them, but the general purpose is to attract attention and promote shock, which leads to sharing and ultimately more web traffic or magazine sales. You should not be living your life according to this fluffy dogma.

The best way to navigate the fluff?

It’s quite difficult and mildly infuriating when people try to impart health advice on me when their primary source of dietary information comes with a smiley face emoji and a ‘like’ button. Do your research! Read the books, look at the actual studies, don’t take anybody’s word for anything. Try things out, be honest with yourself, these are all part of making informed choices and avoiding being sucked into a fluffy lifestyle based on Reddit articles and Daily Mail headlines. It sounds like common sense but we are all too often lured in by the promise of a quick fix or a magic potion that we drop our better instincts. Of course, there’s no harm in having a few healthy habits which improve your diet and promote your overall wellbeing and these light-hearted articles can be a great introduction to looking further into a subject. Green tea is great, apple cider vinegar is wonderful, drink them, but don’t do it without understanding truly why you are doing it and why it might be worth doing!

It’s not always easy to dismiss the hyped up articles we see on a daily basis, especially with social media playing such a huge role in most of our lives and fluff articles being presented to us in abundance. Most of us know that moderation and an informed, well-rounded approach to diet and lifestyle is generally the most sensible and successful path to take. When considering implementing something into your diet and lifestyle routine ask yourself some realistic questions. Will eating a cube of chocolate and half an avocado every lunchtime like the article says, really do me so much of a favour that I should religiously do it everyday? If the answer is somehow yes, go for it. But if the answer is ‘probably not’, just stick to your better instincts and avoid the misleading fads.