Flat abs fast! Hot body now! Why you should (almost) never believe health advice in women's magazines
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When we are young, we are more vulnerable to fashion and teen monthlies targeted at women. Their glossy pages offer an escape from our dreary lives.
While women's magazines offer celebrity-centred advice, it is never evidence-based. Instead, it has largely frivolous, unhelpful, false and often harmful advice.
You won't achieve a healthy weight through buying a particular product or going on a crash diet.
Women's magazines have pages on how to lose weight fast or maintain a healthy body size using some new product or trend. Actual claims on the covers of Women's Health magazines, such as "Hot body express!" "Bikini body now!" "Have the baby, keep the body!" These are lies. There is no magic diet.
What really works is watching what you eat every day, over a lifetime. No magic diet or miracle pills are needed.
There's no need to aim for perfection in your diet 100 per cent of the time. Restrictive diets are unsustainable and often backfire.
Yet women's magazines fixate on strict eating patterns. Whatever the trend, you'll find it in the pages of these magazines. Offering short-term perfection sells better than ideas about grinding along to achieve long-term health.
Many women's magazines depict exercise as a daunting task. Exercise often requires fancy gym clothes and lots of time and discipline to give you an "awesome body wherever you go."
However, exercise is something that gives you energy, lifts your mood, and makes you feel strong and healthy. Exercise doesn't necessarily require gym clothes or running shoes. You can do it throughout the day, every day.
Women's magazines uncritically show faddish health advice from celebrities. Beyonce is held up as the go-to authority on the vegan lifestyle. InStyle states it is the reason behind her "#flawless" looks and "killer curves." Gwyneth Paltrow's popular gimmicks include detox cleanses and special workouts.
In reality, almost every celebrity-driven trend falls apart under even modest scrutiny. The fads are often motivated by a celebrity's business interests more than by research about health.
Author Timothy Caulfield spent years researching the science behind celebrity health and beauty tips. He found that most beauty products had either no data behind them or very small and unreliable studies to back up the fantastical claims.
Using beauty products in your daily routine is not bad, but the promises they carry on their labels are probably bunk. When they come with heavy price tags, you're probably getting ripped off.
Women's magazines sell the idea that we can all look better. It usually involves looking like someone famous like Kim Kardashian.
However, we look like ourselves. Only Kim Kardashian looks like Kim Kardashian. Her career depends on beautifying her face and body. And even she doesn't look that way without a lot of help.
Women's magazines may give so-called health advice, but they still carry ads from cigarette companies that depict smoking as a glamorous exercise for beautiful people.
Given what we know about the harms of smoking,
it completely undermines all the other so-called health "advice" in these magazines.
The pages of women's magazines are filled with diets and products that supposedly help you "cleanse your body." This includes clarifying shampoo, detoxifying salads and juices, supplements, enemas, and even colon cleanses.
Science-based medicine had long rejected the concept of a detox other than when someone was poisoned or is weaned from heroin addiction. Our bodies are quite capable of getting rid of harmful stuff by themselves.
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Runner and yoga aficionado.
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