The Internet is metabolizing health trends in the same way that it distributes celebrity divorce announcements and song snippets on TikTok. Health tips like drinking olive oil and bone broth come and go. All these quirks lead to the fact that the concept of “well-being” loses its relevance: wait, are we drinking salad water? When did people start worrying so much about cortisol levels?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Emily Mokin, a food and beverage analyst at research firm Morning Consult, said: “Anyone who has learned something from talking to their nutritionist or maybe their mother, or just from their own personal life experiences” can share their conclusions and suddenly popular.
Here is a roundup of health and wellness trends in 2023.
This is the era of Ozempa.
Ozempic has become a global term for a new class of drugs that can cause weight loss, in part by suppressing appetite and slowing gastric emptying. There is Ozempic, an injectable diabetes medicine that is becoming more and more popular as people use it as a weight loss aid. Also available are Wegovy approved for the treatment of obesity; Munjaro, a similar remedy for diabetes; and others. Some consumers have tried to find off-label options such as supplements like berberine.
Part of what’s so fascinating about drugs like Ozempic is how they affect the brain: those who have taken it have described it as turning off their “food noise” (continuous and intensifying thoughts about food). As more people turn to these drugs, some are also experiencing serious side effects: decreased muscle mass, severe nausea, vomiting, constipation, and even, in rare cases, malnutrition.
And the wait is just beginning: pharmaceutical companies are developing more powerful drugs in this class, and Ozempic will appear in tablet form.
The saunas are filling up.
After the fall in popularity caused by the pandemic, saunas have made a comeback, with more people turning to them in hopes of getting rid of toxins or stimulating the brain. The researchers say there is no strong evidence that steam rooms can do all of this, but visiting may offer some health benefits.
Can’t concentrate? Can’t you sleep? Are you checking your weak immune system? Are you stressed because of how stressed you are?
The multi-billion dollar supplement industry is committed to providing solutions. One plant or another goes viral every month (remember Irish moss?). Recently, people have been focusing on supplements that relieve anxiety: Ashwagandha (or winter cherry), a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, gained popularity this year, and thousands of tiktok promoted herbal remedies to lower cortisol levels.
The therapy is an aphrodisiac.
Maybe the person you’re dating has an endless list of love languages, or the posts you see on the Hinge dating app show how people talk about their therapist. Psychological buzzwords have entered the dating world as people use and abuse jargon. “Restrictions” abound; dating lovers claim that espresso martinis create “traumatic bonds”; people complain about those who gaslight and like to bomb.
Paul Eastwick, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, said: “Instead of saying something like ‘I’m 6ft 2’ and I can bench press a lot, they say, ‘I’ve been reflecting on the difficulties of my childhood and thinking deeply. about their problems.”
We crave protein.
Hannah Cutting-Jones, nutrition historian and director of the food science program at the University of Oregon, told The New York Times last winter, “We’ve gone protein crazy in recent years.”
Take protein bars, for example: nutritionists say they are often nothing more than candy with exaggerated benefits. Or cottage cheese, which hit its highest in 19 years in Google search in July. Protein is a key part of curd’s appeal; half a cup contains about the same amount of protein as three eggs. It doesn’t matter that most Americans already consume, and often exceed, the recommended daily intake of protein.
A woman holds a dose of the obesity drug Wegovy in Brighton, Michigan on June 8, 2023. Pharmaceutical companies are developing more powerful drugs in this class. (Sidney Elledge/New York Times)
A man holds pill-shaped supplements in Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 2, 2023. (Adria Malcolm/The New York Times)