May 8, 2023

“Wine Mom” & 18 other things people describe as “healthy, but are actually unhealthy.”

“Wine Mom” & 18 things that are “actually unhealthy.”

“Moderation in all things, including moderation.” ~ Oscar Wilde and others

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”  ~ Mae West

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Thanks to marketing-without-morals and the simultaneous decline of journalism in the face of Social Media short-term profiteering, good advice is all mixed up with misinformation—from “spiritual” selfishness to get-thin-quick schemes—many at the expense of you and he and she and me.

So let’s cross out 19 of the more pernicious myths many of us have swallowed whole.

Most comments via Reddit. Links for depth and learning via Elephant.

1. Shakes (also, maybe, MLMs).

“One of the times I became really unhealthily underweight was when my mother tried to ‘cure’ me by forcing me on a mostly Herbalife diet. I had to drink multiple smoothies a day loaded with these supplements, which made me nauseous, which meant I couldn’t eat normal food through the day. I got pretty ill. The people who got her to try this crazy diet in the first place just kept swearing she needed to push through to cure me of multiple chronic illnesses (these wellness con people love the ‘it gets worse before it gets better’ narrative) and she was desperate so she kept me on it way too long. They would even insist we listen to phone calls from multiple other people who supposedly had chronic illnesses talk about how this was their life changing cure, and when I asked them why they were making us do this for a product we were already buying they yelled at me. It took me a while to recover physically and emotionally it still bothers me that people were so desperate to sell their overpriced smoothie mix that they were very willing to make someone already sick even more ill. It’s a horrible product and completely immoral business model.” ~ Reddit comment


2. Juicing. “Juice cleanses. No fiber or anything. Just straight up sugar water.”

Right? The best part of fruit is the soluble fiber and they remove it!” “So many people make 1000 calorie “healthy” smoothies for breakfast and can’t figure out why their diet doesn’t work.”

“Most “healthy branded juices” a lot of them contain more sugar than the average soda. Do your research before buying these products, or just invest in a juicer.

Even the ones with “no sugar added” have an absolutely insane amount of sugar.”

“It turns out that when you take something like fruit that’s maybe 10% sugar and 90% fiber, then remove all the fiber, you end up with a drink that’s mostly just sugar.”

“It’s even better to blend it in a smoothie so you get the whole fruit and its fibres not just the juice.”

Read more here.


3. ‘Being yourself’ even when you are an asshole and your actions adversely affect others. People have stopped being considerate and kind

“Speaking my truth”…it’s usually just a flimsy pretext to say what they want without kindness or consideration for others.”


4. Energy bars, Sports bars, Energy drinks.

“They are designed to pump athletes full of sugar, salt, sometimes caffeine, and potassium. When you’re running a marathon or biking 50 miles or other endurance activity, it is fine that you just ate a 500 calorie candy bar with half your daily recommended amount of salt and sugar in it.

It’s not so great when the only exercise you get is going to the kitchen to grab another one because it didn’t fill you up.”

“I’ve noticed in the US that granola bars will specifically use multiple different kinds of sugar. Ingredients have to be listed in order of most of something to least of something. By using several kinds of sugars, it breaks them out deeper into the list. So something that is 60% sugar and 35% granola by mass, but the number 1 ingredient is granola, because ingredients 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9 are all just different kinds of sugar.

Before I wised up to this, I would eat this one brand of granola bar that had: barley malt, evaporated cane juice, maltose, honey, rice syrup, sugar, and dextran. All just different kinds of sugar.”


5. Detox/cleanse regimens; alkaline water.

“Bravo! Anytime someone says they’re doing some detox thing I get unreasonably annoyed. It’s such a scam. Your organs already detox, just give your liver a break from all the alcohol and let it do its job ffs.”

“Lose 15lbs of weight in 2 weeks*!

*side effects include diarrhea, headache, weakness, moodiness, and severe dehydration.”

Similarly, alkaline water. The human body is not supposed to be alkaline. It’s normal pH is barely over neutral. If, for some reason, someone’s pH is too acidic, it’s likely an indicator of a serious health problem, and not something that can just be “balanced out” by drinking alkaline water.


6. “‘Fat-free.’ This term usually hides the fact that it’s fattening.”

“Fat-free? I think what you really mean is “We took the fat out of this product so it tastes bad. To counter this we’ve put enough sugar in this product to kill a small Victorian child.”

I’m looking at you Special-K

And then, in a strange twist of events, the body converts it to fat for you.


7. “Healthy” itself. Can go for “diet,” “natural,” etc.

“I absolutely can’t stand when people use the word “healthy” or “nutritious” when they mean “low calorie”, or the reverse, when people say “unhealthy” when they mean “calorie dense”.

The nutrient content of food has absolutely nothing to do with its caloric content. There’s nothing healthy about a gallon of sugar free iced tea, and there’s nothing unhealthy about an avocado or a handful of walnuts (you know, unless you have a nut allergy).

Every single time I tell someone I’m trying to eat healthier, I get “oh well you shouldn’t be eating nuts, have a Diet Coke instead”. Words mean things, people. You know we fucked up somewhere when a 2L of diet Mountain Dew is considered healthier than a baked potato.

It’s right up there with “you don’t need to eat healthy, you’re not fat”. It’s like we’ve simultaneously gaslit ourselves into believing that the two states of man are ‘fat’ and ‘healthy’ and that if you’re not in the ‘fat’ category you deserve to reward yourself by being unhealthy on purpose. It’s no wonder kids have so many eating disorders.

“In this vein, people’s reactions to the word “diet.”

I am using it to mean “the foods that one eats regularly.” They assume I mean it like “the Atkins diet” or “the Keto diet.” That mindset fuels so many nutritional misunderstandings. You don’t GO ON a diet, you HAVE a diet, and pretending like a temporary extreme change is going to make you healthy or skinny is so misguided.”


8. Fitness Culture.

“I’ve been learning a lot about gym culture this past year and I have a gripe with “fitness influencers”. There is a big difference between a bodybuilder and a genuinely fit and healthy person. The bodybuilder’s prime objective is to look good, not be fit… like you said, they’re dehydrating themselves and cycling steroids in the pursuit of a body type. They often are exhausted.

Fitness is performance-based, and that doesn’t look as sexy as big muscles and a low body fat percentage.”

“Hugh Jackman may have looked like an Adonis as Wolverine, but his body was in poor condition; he was getting little sleep, working out so hard he experienced joint pain, he deliberately dehydrated himself for a couple days prior to filming his shirtless scenes and probably near passed out more than once for it. And he obviously used steroids, even short term usage affects your liver and other organs.”


9. “Complaining about every possible thing and calling it venting.”

“My ex was like this. Constantly focusing on the negative.

If you want to find something to complain about, you will.

I’ve been working on gratitude myself. I think that’s the counter to that.”

“If you vent every day it’s probably less venting and more being constantly angry/anxious/whatever.”

“There is venting (saying what’s on your mind if something’s bothering you) and then there is ruminating…

I think venting can often lead to ruminating, so I try not to get too into it.

I know some people really love stuff like Bill Burr’s rants about whatever, and I get it, but I have a co-worker who dumps on me pretty much daily, and he lacks the wit to make it entertaining.

Just feels very negative and unnecessary.

Shades of the energy vampire from What We Do in the Shadows.”

“We stay away from those.. they’re also the ones that swear they hate drama but revel in it when it mysteriously follows them around.”


10. Grind/Hustle culture.

“Working outside of work hours.” “Flexing how little time you have to spend with your friends/family/yourself. Turning anything that brings you joy into a business venture. Trying to belittle anyone who isnt “grinding as hard” as you


11. The Culture around Drinking.

“Wine culture for moms. Beer culture for dads. I’m talking about how we, as a culture, push wine culture versus addressing the root problem of how overwhelmed and alone moms are.”

“Alcoholic liver disease is actually on the rise for young otherwise healthy women in their 40s, they just don’t realize that a few glasses to a bottle almost every night is actually quite damaging. The pandemic made this surge. The rosé all day and wine Wednesday trends are popular and that makes the culture shift to chill out on the wine obviously much harder.”

“It’s funny how we celebrate functioning alcoholics like it’s nbd…”

“I am not chugging beer! I’m sampling a flight of gluten-free German lagers with a French wine pairing! It’s called a schmorgeswein and it’s elegantly cultural.”

“‘I don’t have a drinking problem, it’s a hobby.'”

“Right? I don’t understand how drinking a bottle of wine every night (I’ve seen day drinking too) because you’re so overwhelmed and stressed out isn’t leading you down a path.”

“I’m not anti-alcohol, I drink on occasion, but wine mom is just a way to say functioning alcoholic without the social stigma. We give wine a major pass in our society because, “red wine is healthy” instead of just having honest conversations about the health problems associated with alcohol.”


12. Vaping.

“A lot of people, especially youngers start vaping even thought they never smoke cigarettes because it’s “comparatively healthy”, except that there’s plenty of evidence vaping still fucks up your lungs and even though it’s scientifically definitive that it will damage your body it’s just that the long term effects are still not fully measurable.

Also vaping addiction tends to become way worse than cigarette addiction because it’s far easier to intake high doses of nicotine and you’re less restricted on where and when you can intake, not to mention being considerably cheaper.”

“Can definitely attest to this. I’d say I’m way more addicted to vaping now after only a few months of doing so than i ever was to cigarettes (about 12 years smoking on and off). I hated the smell of cigarettes and how it lingers, and it was inconvenient to take smoke breaks. But vaping is so easy that i find myself doing it whilst im WFH or just chilling at home.

I threw out my last disposable vape a couple days ago so hoping I can stop for good.”

“A vaping addiction slowly crept up on me having quit smoking for 7 years, honestly what was I thinking messing around with vapes!?

But I haven’t vaped in about 3 weeks now and this Nicorette tongue spray has really helped. I’m not sure where you are but it’s marketed toward quitting vaping specifically and is ‘berry’ flavoured… Apparently.

I’ve found it is something to do when the overwhelming urge to buy a vape sweeps over me, and after a spray or two I’ve forgotten about it! Would recommend.”


13. Pot.

“Now I won’t say it’s particularly unhealthy (because they’ll hunt me down and kill me), but the pro weed crowd acts like it is a miracle drug with no downsides.

Fact of the matter is, it does cause anxiety and delusional episodes in some people.

To people acting like they agree with me but then saying stuff about the pro weed crowd like “they act like it’s better than alcohol/tobacco”, I fully do believe it isn’t as bad as those substances, those substances are well and truly dangerous. I’m all for the legalisation of weed, I just think we can’t ignore the downsides. People should be able to take these things knowing the full extent of the risks and implications.

All we have to do is be logical and realistic, we can’t get tribal or reactionary, which is something the pro weed movement has done.”

“Weed makes my schizophrenia worse.”

“Super common. It also can bring out schizophrenia in those already predisposed to it, especially if they start using as a teenager.”

Yeah I don’t think smoking a shit load for about three years starting at 13 and then doing acid helped me :/”

“It’s objectively unhealthy to inhale burning vegetation and ash. I don’t know where people have gotten the idea that says otherwise.”

“That’s why I eat my THC like a responsible adult.”

“Absolutely, I can’t tell you the amount of times people have insisted weed will help with my anxiety even after I’ve told them it triggers psychosis for me. I’m totally for it if it works for you but it doesn’t effect everyone the same.”

“As a weed smoker I hate this so much I have associated with people in the past that die by smoking weed is good for you. No bro smoking anything is bad for you, your lungs were not designed to have smoke in them wdf bro.”

More here.


14. Fast food. The amount of people who genuinely believe that Chick-fil-a is somehow “healthier” than other fast food restaurants is actually insane.

“I tried to apply for a meal plan waiver at my college, because most of the foods are very unhealthy fast foods. My cholesterol was slightly high at the time (likely from being forced to eat campus food the year before). I got a note from my doctor requesting an exemption from the meal plan requirement, so I could have that money to make my own food

The university’s response? “We have plenty of healthy options, such as Chick-fil-A and subway”


15. Pregnancy.

A “healthy pregnancy” simply means the fetus will gestate to term and likely not suffer any medical issues during gestation.

It is not referring to a pregnancy’s impact on the body, as that is not healthy at all.”

“A pregnancy is a medical event and I wish more people understood that.

If added all the symptoms of it and subtracted the baby at the end, your doctor might test you for cancer or a thyroid issue.”

“My wife had a relatively smooth pregnancy, but her body is a wreck now.”

“Most people don’t think about how growing a child inside of you rearranges your organs and ligaments. And adjust your bone structure. Constant back problems and hip pain. And I’m sure we will discover more issues as time goes on”

“Yep. I’ve had no less than 7 random injuries to ligaments or tendons or joints in the past year after having my 2nd. My periods are fucked. My back keeps going out. My body shape, skin, and hair changed. And I looked about 10 years older after each kid for the first 1.5 years after delivery. Having children is wild and it took a long time for me to not resent the fact that no one really talks about how it destroys your body in meaningful ways. Literally all you hear about is “saggy boobs” and “baby weight”, and that makes it painfully obvious that the only thing that people care about is how visually appealing women are after birth.

The crazy part is I had a picture perfect pregnancy. I loved being pregnant. It’s the whole putting yourself back together part that sucked. There’s just no understanding or allowances for moms to slowly recover. There’s an immediate expectation for women to bounce back and have it all together.”


16. “Vaginal douche when not medically necessary. The vagina is self cleaning and a douche will screw up the PH balance and possibly cause an infection. Everyone has their own scent and flavor, cherish your uniqueness. Pussy isn’t supposed to smell like flowers. I’m looking at you Summers Eve.”


17. Tanning. “I’m pretty sure tanning isn’t really healthy.” More.


18. “Don’t shame me,” or Idiot compassion, better known as… “Unconditional forgiveness.

The older you get, the more you realize that letting people off the hook for doing sh*tty things isn’t actually doing them, as people, a favor.

Most people will only change their bad behavior if they face consequences for it. While many people will take a free second chance to better themselves, a lot of other people don’t have that sense of self-awareness or responsibility and instead will take it as a “get out of jail free” card and won’t change anything.

Also, narcissists and people without this sense of responsibility tend to take the idea of forgiveness to mean “you can never bring it up or hold it against me again even if I do this thing to you again”.

With these types of people, forcing them to feel the shame of their actions, or at the very least consequences (if they’re sociopathic or narcissistic) is often the only way to get them to change.” More.


19. “My immune system will handle this…” Yes, it is key to have a strong immune system. No, an immune system is not always enough—thus, people getting sick, viruses, childhood diseases, pandemics, and getting other people sick or killing them with our selfish opinions not backed up by scientists.


20. Bonus round: 10 “Bad” Things that Can Be Good If You Practice Them Mindfully.

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