New Trend Allows You To Eat, Drink and Brush Your Teeth With Charcoal
Activated charcoal, once having the negative connotation as a punishment from Santa Clause, has now gone vogue and is used to boost social status on Instagram.
Activated charcoal seems to be the new booming fervor to those who are aware of the newest craze. Activated charcoal refers to the method of heating and being treated to increase absorption power.
In Southern California, 20-year-old Los Angeles native Claire Miller comments on the rapid rise of activated charcoal.
“It doesn’t bother me at all that I am eating charcoal. I’ve eaten weirder things in my life,” Miller said.
Throughout the past few years, several hip trends and new wave sensations have occurred. From face masks to milk and toothpaste, activated charcoal has transformed into a way of life within the health and cosmetic community.
“Teenage girls in Downtown Los Angeles take tons of pictures with their black ice cream. A lot of people don’t even know the actual health benefits but buy it to look cool on their Instagram’s. I, otherwise, buy it merely for the health incentives,” Miller said.
Whether it’s beneficial or not, across the country, there’s been an increase in activated charcoal consumption.
Miller has personally experienced a gradual transformation from the activated charcoal face masks and toothpaste.
“Not only has my acne reduced, but look how white my teeth are now!” Miller said.
According to Eater, it is unclear if activated charcoal is actually beneficial or harmful.
Much of the activated charcoal appeal comes from its ability to absorb and detoxify. On the other hand, some think it can absorb necessary minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and other vitamins that would be found in milk. This can impede the stomach lining from absorbing these nutrients. In extreme cases, this can cause malnutrition and can impact various medications.
21-year-old King’s student Kassidy Vavra shares her experiences with charcoal food and similar products.
“Honestly, I was drawn to the color of charcoal. I mean, besides burnt toast, how many other foods do you eat that are black? For some reason the charcoal latte did upset my stomach, but that hasn’t kept me from eating other charcoal foods,” Vavra said.
Despite her habitual use of charcoal foods and products, Vavra notices one of its major flaws.
“The charcoal powder stains literally anything. I have to be extra cautious while brushing my teeth because if not, it’ll run down and ruin my t-shirts,” Vavra said.
Staining t-shirts is not the only red flag that activated charcoal has raised.
While its sole purpose is aimed to cleanse the body and flush out toxins, it also may cause certain medications to be less effective.
According to Insider, there are several negatives to consuming activated charcoal.
“Overdoing it on activated charcoal could make certain medications less effective. A report in Eater last week said that the efficacy of more than 200 drugs — including the birth control pill — can be hampered by activated charcoal.”
Vavra says it is important to be aware this of this potential concern.
“I’ve definitely heard about the warning of activated charcoal causing problems for girls who are on the pill. I think that’s something a lot of people, especially girls, are not aware about but should really look into,” Vavra said.
According to INSIDER, the capacity of charcoal’s strong absorption nature can be beneficial, but it can counteract medication by preventing their active ingredients to completely absorb and properly work within the body. This can make the medications less effective.
Julia Roberts, a 21-year-old fashion journalist started using charcoal toothpaste after hearing about the benefits it provides for teeth. The results weren’t as spectacular as she thought they may be.
“I stopped using charcoal toothpaste because it completely clogged the bathroom sink up. It was really disgusting, and a hassle to clean up. I decided it wasn’t worth it, then I threw it away,” Roberts said.
After Robert’s sink was not draining properly she called the maintenance man who affirmed that this had been a reoccurring issue. There had been several drains he had to fix that day due to activated charcoal toothpaste use.
“I say try it, and if it works for you - cool! But if it doesn’t, Colgate is just as rad,” Roberts said.
Beauty blogger Carson Bunting sees activated charcoal products as more than just a trend.
“People have been using charcoal in food and skincare for thousands of years, so I’m not sure it's just a trend. However, I do think it's more of a marketing buzzword right now, so it'll probably be replaced by the next new wonder ingredient. It'll still be around though,” Bunting said.
Regardless of its popularity, activated charcoal has been completely banned from selling for consumption in New York City.
According to The New York Observer, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced that activated charcoal is no longer permitted in food and drinks in the city as a result of a rule instituted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Activated charcoal has undoubtedly become an expanding novelty. This craze has keenly made its impact, and has resulted in both beneficial and negative ways.
Despite the rave over social media and its trendy title, it is crucial to be aware of its potential side effects as well.