the danger of pinterest health scams

Scroll through your Pinterest feed, and chances are you’ll stumble upon a post claiming to have a secret drink or diet to help solve all your health woes. Or, more simply put, Pinterest health scams.

Just take these two ingredients every morning and your stomach will always be flat!

Drink this concoction before going to sleep and you’ll lose 20 pounds in two weeks!

Only sleep on your left side if you want to be healthy!

And if you have ever been on that website, you’ll know I’m taking these directly from the pins themselves, selling people on fantastical ideas that are nothing short of gimmicky.

Follow the links from these photos and you’ll find more similar content, the newest ways to lose weight and “detox” your body. Big claims and false hopes.

Are people actually falling for these Pinterest health scams? Well, let’s check out what they say.

Apple cider vinegar.

Coming from people calling themselves Healthy Life Experts, the secret to no longer feeling tired and “unhealthy” is to drink apple cider vinegar and honey on an empty stomach every morning.

The magic combination of ACV and honey is toted to have many health benefits, everything from lower blood pressure, inflammation, and cholesterol, weight loss, and even eliminating joint pain and acid reflux.

Experts are mixed on championing ACV above all else, believing it be a natural cure-all. The properties in ACV that actually help us, such as helping diabetics control their blood sugar, are true for all types of vinegar. The most cited study for weight loss had minimal results, most people only losing 2-4 pounds. Any research about ACV preventing heart disease and cancer has only involved rat subjects.

Admittedly, I do enjoy ACV. I like to dilute it and use it as a toner for my face. Drinking it in water in the morning can help my digestion start up, but drinking plain water does that, too. Simply put, ACV is not all Pinterest health scams claim it to be.

Honey and cinnamon.

Another Pinterest health scam I see frequently again involves honey, but it adds some cinnamon into the mix to make it a maximum-weight-loss elixir.

Just like ACV, the benefits of each ingredient aren’t completely unfounded. Any conventional honey isn’t going to make magic happen, but manuka honey has greater antibacterial properties that can help prevent the growth of infection. Lab studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria. But it’s unclear what the implications are for people.

Combining the two, especially for weight loss, probably isn’t making a difference. Neither honey nor cinnamon can help with broad-ranging pain or other major health concerns. Although both have been used in Eastern and Western medicines, the way foods are processed now, you’re unlikely to make this Pinterest health scam a reality.

Juice/water detoxes.

Whether it be a collection of ten detox recipes or a three-day program to follow, Pinterest health scams talk a lot about detoxing the body.

One of these pins suggests that diet pills and fad diets aren’t the way to go…but some detox drinks are certainly better. This website says, “When you juice you are helping to flush out dangerous toxins, reduce inflammation and also replenish damaged cells that are in your body.”

But guess what: it’s still a fad. Whether you’re doing it at home or through a tailored product, the cleanses contain about 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day; there is generally a nut-milk component for fat and a little protein, and vegetable juices for vitamins and minerals and live enzymes.

It sounds great to get all of your nutrition into a glass and make your body uber clean, but sadly, that’s far from fact. The high sugar consumption involved in juice fasts can skyrocket blood-sugar levels in diabetics, which can result in fatigue, unexplained weight loss, blurry vision, excessive hunger and thirst, and wounds or infections that heal more slowly than usual.

Also, there’s no reliable scientific research to support claims that juicing your produce is healthier than eating it whole. Actually, the fiber and some of the antioxidants found in the skins and seeds of fruits and vegetables are often eliminated in the juicing process, making it even more likely to spike your blood sugar.

Since you’re not consuming the proteins and fats you need, along with many other nutrients in varied forms, any weight loss benefits will not last. Any detox diets often involve severe caloric restrictions that can lead to nutrient deficiencies, severe diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue.

Our bodies detox themselves, and anything claiming to have a detoxing property we need for optimal health isn’t worth your time. Science doesn’t support the idea that our kidneys or liver require cleaning from “toxin buildup.” Just eat whole, plant-based foods and be active, and you’ll be fine.

So what can we learn from Pinterest? It’s a great place to share ideas and promote creative content, but it shouldn’t be your go-to source for advice. Since the goal is for you to click on a picture and follow its link, people will want to make that picture as inviting as possible. Just like any other advertising, go in skeptical. Be critical and question what you see. Find some scientific studies to back yourself up beyond all the natural/holistic health sites out there. Even as someone who discusses wellness from a holistic mindset, I still think we need balance. Don’t fall into a scam. Use common sense. Most importantly, treat yourself well.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

share your thoughts