4 Weight Loss Trends You Need to Try (and 3 You Should Skip)

Are you up to speed on the latest food and fitness trends? Whether you have a love-hate relationship with coconut oil¬†or you haven’t touched your super-expensive juicer in six months, it’s obvious trends come and go. It’s much harder to tell whether or not any of these things actually work, though. Should you get an activity tracker? Take a fitness class? Eat more probiotics? Here are the weight loss trends you can count on — and the ones you can’t.

Try: Eating to help your gut

young beautiful woman eating yogurt at home

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics. | iStock.com/nensuria

Probiotics are “in” right now — but that’s a trend you might benefit from getting behind. Your gut bacteria has a major impact on your health. A healthy gut reduces your chances of gaining weight and suffering inflammation-related diseases as a result. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on supplements, but let your gut microbiome serve as a motivator to eat fewer processed foods.

Skip: Activated charcoal ‘detoxes’

Medical capsules with activated charcoal and glass of water on wooden table

Activated charcoal is not as great as you think. | SasaJo/iStock/Getty Images Plus

According to Science Based Medicine, research doesn’t back up the belief that products like activated charcoal, tea, and lemonade can remove harmful toxins from your body and help you lose weight safely. At least, not unless you’ve legitimately been poisoned, which is what activated charcoal is used for in medicine. Your liver and kidneys are responsible for removing unwanted toxins from your body. You don’t have to drink charcoal lemonade. You’re going to be fine.

Try: Fermented foods

a tempeh steak

Fermented foods like tempeh are great for weight loss. | iStock.com

Probiotics aren’t just good for your gut. Fermented foods like soy products and yogurt tend to undergo less processing than most calorie-dense junk food, which makes them excellent weight loss tools. Cheddar cheese, for example, provides a great balance of protein and fat. If you’re willing to be a little adventurous, tempeh, a soy-based meat alternative, provides the protein and fiber often necessary to keep you full and combat unhealthy food cravings.

Skip: Souping

Vegetable tomato and carrot soup with spices

Soup is great — just not for every meal. | iStock.com/Mizina

Unlike juicing, going on a soup detox does incorporate some solids into your diet. You probably also won’t experience the blood sugar spikes and dips that come with drinking six smoothies or more a day. But The New York Times warns this trend doesn’t provide any benefits a regular healthy diet can’t. As a detox diet, it’s completely useless. It might help you lose weight in the short-term, but it’s not likely to last. Soup can be good for you — but you don’t have to eat it for every meal to stay healthy.

Try: Wearable activity trackers

a group of people wearing fitbits

A Fitbit is a great way to keep track of your daily activity. | Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Fitbit

Do you wear an activity tracker? It might be worth the investment after all. While not everyone can lose weight or eat better with feedback from a wristwatch, wearables can show you your strengths and weaknesses, helping you target the food, fitness, and even sleep milestones that work for you. In general, wearable tech has the potential to improve our population’s overall health — as long as we’re willing to use their data to change our habits in the real world.

Skip: Putting coconut oil in everything

a jar of coconut oil on the table

Coconut oil is great, but don’t overdo it. | Brandless/iStock.com

Is coconut oil healthy? Technically, it has the potential to raise your HDL cholesterol and provide your body with antioxidants, according to Harvard Health. However, it does have more saturated fat than both butter and beef — too much of it still isn’t good for you. Whether or not you can use coconut oil as a healthier alternative to other fats in cooking isn’t something research can say for sure yet. It’s fine to use every now and then, but don’t use it in every possible recipe just because it has some health benefits.

Try: Live-stream workout classes

a woman on her yoga mat doing situps

This is a great, and inexpensive way to stay in shape. | iStock.com

Don’t like going to the gym? Not sure you want to commit to a fitness class? Group fitness classes are extremely beneficial, whether you attend one in person or over the internet. More fitness instructors and personal trainers are offering live classes you can stream from home, which allows you to participate from anywhere. No more hiding in the back of the pack to avoid uncontrollable embarrassment. Stay fit, lose weight, and never leave your bedroom. Sound good? Give it a go.