The year is rapidly approaching an end, and with it, we can perhaps look forward to better and brighter days in 2022. With daylight savings, seasonal depression, and cold and flu season making a comeback as temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere drop, some strange remedies have been appearing on TikTok — as they often do.
The Good: Doctor Reveals the Truth About Dieting
Chisom Ikeji, MD, is a critical care clinical fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and on TikTok under the username @drchizmd. In a TikTok with almost 200,000 views and over 18,000 likes, Ikeji explains to all New Year’s resolution-makers that dieting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “Dieting leads to perpetually losing weight and gaining weight on a cycle,” she says, “so that your body never really settles at its set point weight.”
Celebrities and your friends who drink lemon water in the morning may tout all sorts of fad diets and some of them might even work. But Ikeji explains that diets with gimmicks don’t have lasting power and create cycles of losing and gaining weight. Additionally, associating “points” with foods, or separating them into “good” or “bad” categories, encourages habits that can lead to disordered eating.
The best way to keep weight off is to make actual lifestyle changes that stick. In contrast, going back to dieting every year (the rapid cycle of losing and gaining weight is called “yo-yo” dieting) can have a bad impact on your health, including increased risk of heart disease and metabolism issues.
“The best thing you can do for your body, and to help you lose weight, is to stop dieting,” Ikeji says. “Incorporate whole foods into your diet and make sure you move your body. If you don’t, you’ll be chasing that diet into your 80s and feeling guilty over a piece of cake forever. That’s no way to live life.”
The Bad: Vitamin C Contraceptive
In this TikTok, user @itsdiosa reveals her contraception hack for anyone with a uterus who may be having unprotected sex. She claims that for those who forget to take the Plan B pill, vitamin C is a worthwhile substitute in preventing unwanted pregnancy. She recommends taking four or five vitamin C tablets a day for a few days for the return of a normal period.
Not surprisingly, Vitamin C isn’t safe or reliable and doesn’t have studies to back up @itsdiosa’s claim. If anything, all you’ll get from taking too much vitamin C is diarrhea and a stomachache.
Karan Rajan, MBBS, from Imperial College London and the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom, responded to the TikTok to confirm that this claim isn’t backed up by science.
“Vitamin C doesn’t start or stop a period. Period,” he commented on the video.
The Ugly: Garlic Sinus Decongestant
Now this one went viral one went viral with over 5.2 million likes. In this TikTok, @hwannah5 and her boyfriend try out a trend that involves putting a clove of peeled garlic in each nostril in order to clear up congestion. The bubbles of ooey gooey snot coming out of her boyfriend’s nose certainly make it seem like it’s working, but what’s really going on?
This is hardly new; people have been putting strange things in nasal rinses for some time now and garlic is a tried-and-true favorite. Garlic does have some medically valid uses. These studies have shown that garlic taken orally may improve insulin in people with diabetes, slightly lower cholesterol, and reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. When it comes to home remedies, people have historically used garlic as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent, though these claims are not widely supported by research. But taking a garlic supplement and sticking raw garlic up your nose are two very different things.
New York-based board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, weighed in on the viral trend.
In her own reaction video, she explained: “Guys, this is actually not safe. What’s happening is the garlic is actually triggering something called contact dermatitis and the mucosa is trying to protect itself by secreting tons of mucus. It’s creating swelling.”
For those tempted by this smelly “remedy,” a few drops of essential oil in a steamy shower is a much more pleasant (and significantly less gross) way to treat congestion.
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