5 Instagram "Health" Products You Should Stay Away From

Instagram can be great for social purposes, but it’s also the perfect place for companies and influencers to market clothes, gadgets and even health products. Your favorite celebrity may be advertising that a certain tea made them lose 10 pounds, but not all of these products live up to their miracle-making promises.

1.  Flat Tummy Tea

From the Kardashians to Snooki, it seems like the best diet trick in the celebrity world is Flat Tummy Tea. Whether they’re posing with it right before they go to bed or after their workout, this product has flooded people’s Instagram accounts.

“They contain ingredients with diuretic and laxative properties. Diuretics and laxatives are not bad for you if you need them,” says Summer Meister, a registered nurse and nurse extern at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. “So the teas can basically dehydrate you throughout the day while they are working to get rid of your water weight. Furthermore, water weight is exactly what it sounds like: water. You will not be really losing any weight by using these teas.”

It would be great if simply drinking a tea could help everyone lose weight, but old-fashioned healthy eating and exercise may be the best alternative for your body.

2. Weight loss supplements

Progress pictures are a big part of the Instagram fitness community and can be a great source of inspiration for those looking to lose weight or tone up. But when these progress pictures come with a blurb thanking a supplement or vitamin, you should do your research.

Taylor Denning, an EMT and physical therapist aide, says, “Honestly, some of the products are dehydrating supplements, which most people do not understand. Doing them too much or too often could result in your body going into hypovolemic shock, essentially sending your body into a low blood volume shock by dehydration.” 

If a weight loss supplement or a miracle vitamin seems like it might be legitimate, look up the ingredients and search for honest reviews.

Related: 4 Reasons Why You Aren't Seeing Fitness Results Yet

3. Waist trainers

You may have seen these waist-cinching devices sported by the Kardashians. The girdle-like wraps come in different forms—some lace-up or Velcro—and they promise to give you the ultimate hourglass figure.

“Avoid trends that you see celebrities doing. More often than not, they are being paid a nice chunk of money to post five times about something they could care less about,” says Denning.

Literally sucking in your stomach with a piece of fabric may seem like the perfect way to get fit; however, you should use your intuition. Some fitness and health trends may work and be the answer to your concerns, but you should act like a skeptic whenever it comes to something that’s supposed to change your body.

4. Protein World Slender Blender

Protein shakes can be a good thing; that’s why so many people are a fan of them before and after the gym. However, the fitness community on Instagram has taken a certain liking to Protein World’s Slender Blender, which isn’t the same one your gym crush is drinking before their intense workout.

“While this one in particular does contain many vitamins and minerals, it is a meal replacement shake. When adding milk as instructed, it is higher in calories than advertised,” says Meister. “It’s always important to consider that meal replacement shakes are in a way a crash/fad diet. Most, including this one, contain high levels of caffeine which is not recommended for long periods of time.”

Not all protein shakes are bad. Do your research to find a brand that is good for the type of lifestyle you lead and one that won’t have scary long-term side effects.

5. Hair vitamins

Long hair, don’t care, right? Gummies like Sugar Bear Hair vitamins and Hair Burst vitamins seem to be the trick to luscious locks, but they really aren’t anything special.

“While the vitamins found in Sugar Bear Hair vitamins are known to help hair growth, you would probably get the same effect by taking biotin or a normal multivitamin for a cheaper price,” says Meister.

With an influencer’s coupon code, you may think you are saving big bucks, but you can save by finding a drug store alternative.

As for Hair Bursts, it seems like they are also just trendy vitamins. Meister says, “The problem is, it does not seem like it could be used as a multivitamin like Sugar Bear could. So if the ingredients don’t end up helping your hair, you’re basically wasting your money. It’s also important to note that if you eat a well-rounded and healthy diet, you can naturally get the vitamins you need for stronger, healthier hair.”

Put your credit card away for now and check out your local drugstore’s vitamin aisle to find these hair-growth solutions.

Instagram is a great place to get inspired, but not the place to take the advice of strangers. If you are interested in a health trend, do your best to find honest reviews and research the product. It will save you money, time and grief!