We've Decoded 6 Viral TikTok Wellness Trends - Women's Health

We’ve Decoded 6 Viral TikTok Wellness Trends

Are they worth the hype?

From roller skating to chlorophyll shots, TikTok’s reach has extended beyond the viral memes and into the wellness world.

While some content trends might have merit, others “can be as innocent as not being effective or be as dangerous as risking injury or doing more harm than good,” warns accredited exercise physiologist Sam Rooney.

So, how can you sort the legit from the downright alarming?

We asked pros to break it down, so you know what to stitch and what to ditch.

Roller skating

Strap in and embrace your inner seven-year-old – roller skating is back in a big way (you’ve seen those joyful videos, right?). Not only is it good aerobic exercise and offers a bit of resistance training, there are other overlooked-but-important perks. “It’s social, which we know helps to improve [workout] adherence and compliance,” Rooney says. “It’ll also do a lot for your stability and balance.” Learning a new skill and challenging your coordination and body awareness can benefit your brain, too. “Exercise doesn’t have to be strict or perfectly programmed, it needs to be something you’ll do and enjoy long term,” he says. Coasting around on new wheels can sure tick that box.

The Verdict: Stitch

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Drinking liquid chlorophyll

Thousands of before and-after montages claim to show the acne-busting, glow-giving, BO-banishing benefits of chugging liquid chlorophyll, but does the science stack up?

Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes plants green, however, the vividly coloured concoction going viral on TikTok is actually chlorophyllin — a more stable, semi-synthetic version of chlorophyll.

“Chlorophyll does have antioxidants which are undoubtedly beneficial for health,” explains accredited practising dietitian Christina Turner. “However, the research on liquid chlorophyll in humans is limited and not substantial enough to advise community members to take it to improve particular health ailments, or how much to take.”

Turner recommends getting your chlorophyll fix from fruit and vegies first – one cup of raw spinach provides 23.7mg of chlorophyll, which is half of what’s found in a serve of the supplement.

“There are other benefits we can get from eating ‘real food’ sources of chlorophyll like green vegies rather than the supplements, including a different range of vitamins and minerals plus fibre,” Turner says. Consider us convinced.

The Verdict: Ditch

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Proffe

Fans of the “proffee” trend swap out regular milk in their coffee (usually iced) for a pre-prepared protein shake, claiming it keeps you fuller for longer and helps with weight loss. Accredited practising dietitian Jessica Spendlove says protein is the most important nutrient when it comes to appetite control, managing blood sugar levels and recovery from training, so the combo could have some value.

“The health benefits are much less about directly adding protein powder to coffee, and more about the indirect benefits of having more protein in the morning, and the potential positive flow-on effect that may have with our appetite and intake across the day,” she says. While the habit doesn’t have obvious downsides, it’s important that your proffee doesn’t replace a full meal. “I would prefer to have my morning filtered coffee and then get my protein – and other micronutrients – from real food,” adds Spendlove.

Put that in your brew and shake it.

The Verdict: Stitch

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Japanese towel method

Nope, not a new way to dry yourself. We’re talking about an exercise promising a six-pack in days. It involves lying down and placing a rolled-up towel under your lower back for five minutes while you extend your arms and legs away from your body.

This allegedly helps to correct the placement of the pelvis, fix posture and assist you in losing weight. The too-good-to-be-true red flags? Impossible spot reduction of fat from specific areas and unrealistically fast results.

“If you do have a stiff and tight lower back, it can be a nice little stretch, but in terms of whether it’ll give you abs or a six-pack, then definitely not,” Rooney says. He thinks it’s not a goal worth chasing anyway. “I’d always prefer someone to have a goal of a strong core, whether that’s holding a plank for longer or being able to tolerate a heavier deadlift, rather than [focusing only on] aesthetics.”

Chat to a fitness pro for functional core-strengthening tips.

The Verdict: Ditch

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#WhatIEatInADay

This trend sees TikTok-ers sharing footage of everything that goes in their mouth, with some of the most popular content coming from models and influencers. While some people can genuinely benefit from ideas on what to eat and cook, getting fixated on the specifics of someone else’s eating habits can be problematic. “Many of these trends are based on the idea of, ‘eat like me and you can look like me’,” Turner says.

In 2020, 69 per cent of the app’s user base was 13 to 24-year-olds, an age group “already vulnerable to body image concerns, harmful dieting, disordered eating and eating disorders,” she adds. “In an Australian study … adolescent girls who dieted were 18 times more likely to develop an eating disorder within six months. Following trends like #WhatIEatInADay [can] compound this.”

Far better to eat in a way that’s right for you, and go to a nutrition expert for advice rather than your social media. 

The Verdict: Ditch

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Baked oats

Feta pasta, pesto eggs, folded tortillas – another day, another recipe dished up by TikTok. A tempting one for wellness fans? Baked oats, which involves whizzing oats into a fine “flour” and mixing it with eggs, milk, baking powder, maple syrup, plus your choice of fruit, nuts and other flavourings. The result is something that resembles a brownie or cake but claims to be healthy.

The truth? “It depends,” Spendlove says. “The rolled oats themselves are an excellent source of whole grains, so including them is a big win. The rest of the puzzle really then depends on what you’re adding to the mixture.”

The addition of ingredients like mashed banana and eggs get her tick of approval but, “at the end of the day, honey and maple syrup are still in their purest form, sugar.” So, don’t overdo it on the sweeteners and you’re onto a winner.

The Verdict: Stitch

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