4 Health Myths You Need To Stop Believing

Photographed by Mike Garten.
Update: This week, the rest of the Internet is catching on that the Food Babe is full of shit, thanks to the Science Babe's new compelling essay for Gawker. So, here's our reminder of exactly what was wrong with Food Babe's recently published book. This post was originally published on March 4.  Vani Hari (a.k.a. the Food Babe) is known both for rallying an army of fans against anything called a "chemical" and for being able to find those things pretty much everywhere. Hari's new book, The Food Babe Way, follows the same patterns. So, we talked to Yvette d'Entremont (a.k.a. the Science Babe) to get the real story on four pieces of advice that Food Babe gives in her book. Armed with a background in chemistry and a (probably more than) healthy dose of skepticism, the Science Babe tells us what's what. Below are four health myths we should definitely ignore. Detox by stimulating the liver with lemon, cayenne, and warm water.
"Your liver doesn't need waking up. It's humming along, it's doing its job, it's pumping out all of its necessary enzymes — whether or not you drink this combination. The other claim is that this will wash out various toxins. But, in order to detox, you need to be 'toxed.' Pesticides or heavy metals are the usual demons [that the Food Babe] claims you need to get out of your system. [She claims] that you're feeling tired, you're feeling fatigued, that you have acne, or eczema, or allergies... But, those aren't the symptoms of heavy-metal or pesticide poisoning." Related: 12 Unexpected Reasons To Drink More Water Drink a green juice every day.
"I have to admit, green juice can be delicious. I make it myself...there's nothing wrong with it. But, her reason behind [drinking] it is that it's a source of chlorophyll and it helps keep your body 'in an alkaline state to avoid disease'? Oh boy — we've landed at Bullshit Central when you say you're 'trying to go alkaline.' [That's] just not a thing that happens... Blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Other parts of your body have different pHs. Your stomach is very acidic because it has to break down food. But, your body's pH is very tightly controlled. If it changes, that means you're sick." Related: 5 Hacks For A Healthier Week Eliminate refined sugars.
"This one really bugs me because sugar is sugar. [She] makes it sound like sugar from one source is better than sugar from another source... Calorie for calorie, you need to run the same number of miles to burn them off. Your pancreas needs to work just as hard to transport that sugar through your cells for energy. Your body doesn't know the difference [between sugar that comes from] GMO sugar beets or maple."  Related: A Major Reason You Should Rethink Kicking Your Coffee Habit Fast every day.
"Part of the reason she says to fast is [because] 'the body goes into detoxification mode and has more time to remove dead and dying cells.' Detox is not a thing. There is some science to support [the idea that] fasting is good for your metabolism, but her reasoning is that [fasting] will 'detox' you. Also, there are various pieces of her advice that look almost identical to pro-anorexia blogs... What if you're hungry? What if you're an endurance athlete? What if you need to take medicine with food? [Her] advice ignores the reality of trying to fuel your body." The bottom line may sound cliche, but it's legit: Consult your doctor — not just the Internet — before incorporating any health advice into your life. 

Want more? Get all the latest on sex and relationships, health news, fitness trends, and more over at the Refinery29 Wellness Facebook page!

More from Diet & Nutrition

R29 Original Series