TikTok Trends That Are Harmful to Your Physical and Mental Health

Everyone’s talking about TikTok, and it’s no surprise that the younger crowd is turning to it like their personal Google. But here’s the thing: if TikTok is their go-to for answers, how sure are we they’re getting the right info?

Don’t get me wrong, TikTok’s bursting with cool tricks, handy life hacks, and some genuine wisdom from pros. But it’s also a bit of a wild west out there with some folks dishing out advice on topics they really shouldn’t be. Case in point? Random personal trainers and the guy next door suddenly becoming “nutrition experts.” Brittany DeLaurentis, a legit nutrition pro with a whole string of letters after her name (MPH, RD, CSO, LD for the curious), makes it clear: leave the nutrition talk to those who’ve actually hit the books and earned their degrees.

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So, next time you’re scrolling and spot some “game-changing” health tips on TikTok, maybe take a second to think: is this really coming from someone in the know, or just another internet guru? Beware the pitfalls of TikTok wisdom, folks!

1. Drinking Borax

Okay, folks, let’s set the record straight: just because something’s trending on TikTok doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Take the Borax-drinking trend, for example. Just because Borax is a natural substance doesn’t make it good to drink. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Let’s be clear, drinking Borax isn’t just frowned upon, it’s dangerous. Kristin Draayer, MS, RDN, confirms that even a little bit can cause nausea, vomiting, and some really unpleasant stomach issues. And if that wasn’t scary enough, keep consuming it, and you’re looking at severe kidney damage, convulsions, and in worst cases, it can be deadly.

The logic behind this trend seems to be the age-old misconception that if it’s natural, it’s got to be safe. But hey, even Mother Nature has her dark side. Take cyanide, for instance – totally natural, yet absolutely lethal. So, next time a risky trend pops up on your feed, maybe think twice before hopping on the bandwagon.

2. What I Eat in a Day

Scrolling through TikTok, you might stumble upon the “What I eat in a day” trend, where users share their daily meals. While it can be intriguing to peek into someone’s daily diet, it’s worth noting that not all of these posts represent healthy or realistic eating habits.

Jamie Nadeau, RD of The Balanced Nutritionist, weighs in on this. “It’s unsettling how some of these posts are promoting disordered eating. You’ll often see users flaunting their physique, followed by them showcasing a day of extremely low-calorie meals. This gives off a misleading notion that by mimicking their diet, you’ll get their body type. But that’s far from the truth.”

Jamie emphasizes that many times, these posts showcase portions that are way too small for the average person. Remember, everyone’s dietary needs are distinct. So, next time you find yourself comparing your meals with someone on TikTok, remember that what works for them might not necessarily work for you. Celebrate and nourish your unique body!

3. Extreme Fasting

DeLaurentis raises an eyebrow at the rising trend of drastic calorie restriction. “It’s alarming to see people skipping out on so many essential calories and carbs, especially when they’re physically active,” she comments. “I recently saw someone on TikTok who did a 72-hour water-only fast, boasting about the boost in her willpower. It’s mind over matter, sure, but at what cost to one’s health?”

4. Sleepy Chicken Challenge

NyQuil on your chicken? That’s not a recipe you’d expect!

A TikTok trend called “Sleepy Chicken” has users adding NyQuil, a common cold and cough remedy, to their chicken dishes. But this isn’t just a quirky cooking experiment – it poses real health risks. From the potential dangers of heating the medication to the risk of overdosing, this trend is more than just questionable. And it’s not just us thinking it; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sounded the alarm on this dangerous misuse of medication. Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT from One Pot Wellness, urges everyone to think twice before hopping onto such risky trends.

5. Volume Eating

Ever seen someone on TikTok munching on half a watermelon for lunch? Welcome to the trend of “volume eating,” which is all about eating large quantities without weight gain. Jessi Holden, MS, RDN, a culinary dietitian, points out the flaw in this trend. Rather than celebrating balanced and nourishing meals, it encourages people to prioritize quantity over quality. In the long run, this approach might promote an unhealthy relationship with food, reminding us that trends aren’t always as good as they seem.

6. Mukbang Trend

On the other end of the spectrum from volume eating, there’s the Mukbang trend, where people devour massive amounts of food on camera. While it might seem like just another form of entertainment, these videos can actually be tricky for those with tendencies towards binge eating disorders. Not only can they distort perceptions of healthy portion sizes, but they might also inadvertently glamorize unhealthy eating habits. So, while it’s fun to watch, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not always a reflection of everyday eating.

7. Gallon of Water Challenge

It’s said that moderation is key, and this holds true even for something as essential as water. Overloading on fluids in a short span can upset your body’s balance and lead to serious health issues.

Take the TikTok gallon water challenge, for example. Sarah Garone, NDTR, CNC, warns, “While staying hydrated is essential, and there might be days when drinking a gallon makes sense, downing it all in one go isn’t the best idea. Doing so could dangerously tip the body’s electrolyte balance, resulting in symptoms ranging from confusion to nausea, and in extreme cases, even a coma. It’s better to pace yourself and set a reasonable daily hydration target rather than going overboard in a single session.”


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