5 Health Trends to Avoid in 2017


With 2017 well underway, you’re probably eager to get the ball rolling on your health and fitness resolutions. You might even consider following some up-and-coming health trends. While many of these trends sound promising, some of them might not work as well as you thought – and could even be dangerous.

Here are five health trends medical professionals suggest skipping out on in 2017.

1. Smartphone Apps to Identify Melanoma

Courtesy: Simon Fraser University, CC BY-SA 2.0

Think a smartphone app can diagnose skin cancer? Think again.

Research suggests that the apps, which allow users to upload a photo of moles in question, are only 60 percent effective.

“A large number of melanomas are not going to be picked up by these apps,” said Dr. Abigail Waldman, a dermatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Bottom line? While these apps may shed some light on whether the mole or skin area is suspicious, the best way to check for cancer is being seen by a doctor.

2. Getting By on Little Sleep

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If functioning on four hours of sleep is your forte, you might want to consider the benefits of longer slumber.

Over time, poor sleep habits can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can even make you more susceptible to everyday illness like the common cold.

So just how much sleep do you need? According to the National Sleep Foundation, seven to nine hours is the sweet spot for adults.

3. Bottled Smoothies

Courtesy: Orko Sardar/Flickr

Multiple servings of fruit and vegetables. A hefty helping of nutrients. Bottled smoothies must be good for you, right? Maybe, maybe not.

According to registered dietician Linda Antinoro, bottled fruit smoothies are packed with sugar. Just one 15-ounce bottle can contain up to 50 grams.

“That is about 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar,” Antinoro notes.

Bottled fruit smoothies are better than nothing, but the best way to get your daily helpings of fruit is to buy them fresh or make your own smoothies at home.

4. Losing “X” Amount of Pounds

Losing weight is one of the most popular health and wellness goals among Americans. But designating a magic number may not be the best way to see the pounds come off.  

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“Setting a goal of losing like 30 or 50 pounds isn’t recommended,” says Elisabetta Politi, Nutrition Director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center at Duke University.

Many people tend to become frustrated when the weight is coming off as fast as they’d like. That’s why Politi suggests approaching weight loss with smaller, reachable goals.

Instead of purchasing a gym membership, try committing to increased physical activity each day. For example, 15 minutes of walking twice a day.

Losing weight isn’t all about exercise. It’s also important to be mindful about meal planning. Pay attention to which foods make you feel energized and which leave you feeling sluggish.

5. Hot Yoga

From improved strength, increased flexibility, and lower stress levels, it’s no secret that yoga offers an array of health benefits. But not all yoga is created equally, and there’s one type you can pass on in 2017.

“Hot yoga and hot fitness classes are a surefire way to increase your chance of overheating,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Courtesy: HappyTree Yoga/Flickr

Hot yoga enthusiasts endure classrooms between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit and around 40 percent humidity. A typical class is 90 minutes. The practice is said to detoxify, relieve stress, and heal chronic pains amongst a slew of other health benefits.

Still, some doctors say exercising in high-heat environments can lead to serious health risks.

“It puts you at risk for developing heat cramps and heat exhaustion which can lead to heat stroke, a potentially lethal condition. In a nutshell, your body loses the ability to cool itself, leading to dangerously high temperatures which may place you at risk for seizures, muscle breakdown known as rhabdomyolysis, and can even lead to coma,” said Glatter.