Alternative Medicine

Are these 6 bizarre food trends worth the trouble?

Natural Wine
What It Is: No additives (like sulfur) and no adjusted flavor or alcohol content. Just a bottle of pure, fermented grapes.
Find It: At specialty bars such as Ten Bells on New York City's Lower East Side and on some top-shelf restaurants' wine lists.
The Sell: In our detox-happy age, why would you want more chemicals in your body? Plus, natural wines promise a hangover-free morning.
The Truth: The sulfite worry is a storm in a wineglass—there's more in packaged soup or dried fruit, says Jessica Brown, wine director at The Breslin in New York. And sadly, that hangover claim comes with zero evidence.

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Aloe Water
What It Is: Water fortified with juice from our go-to sunburn soother.
Find It: At Whole Foods or Dimes in New York and other savvy health-food stores.
The Sell: Sipping vitamin B12-heavy aloe fights inflammation and free-radical damage that can blight the skin.
The Truth: While it has anti-inflammatory properties when rubbed on the skin, there's little evidence that downing it has the same effect.

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Grass-Fed Dairy
What It Is: Milk, butter, or cheese produced from cows fattened on grass.
Find It: At most upscale grocery stores—look for Organic Valley Grassmilk or Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter.
The Sell: It has more omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E than dairy raised on corn or soy.
The Truth: Milk this trend for all it's worth. "It contains a storehouse of nutrition and beneficial bacteria," says Dr. Robert Kominiarek, a hormone specialist.

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Coconut Sugar
What It Is: A sugar substitute made from the sap of palm-tree buds.
Find It: On the menu at buzzy restaurants like Pure Food & Wine in New York and Moonshadows in Malibu.
The Sell: It has a lower glycemic index than agave or honey, which should steer you away from a sugar crash.
The Truth: Dr. Kominiarek says it's a "slightly better alternative to table sugar," but it can still increase your risk of diabetes.

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Ancient Grains
What They Are: Complex carbs that have been forgotten about for generations, such as amaranth, kamut, spelt, and teff.
Find Them: In everything from Trader Joe's pizza crust to Cheerios (yes, an Ancient Grains version was just released).
The Sell: Most are gluten-free and stacked with essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that aren't in white flour or wheat.
The Truth: Be wary when buying packaged goods like cereals or pastas—sometimes the amount included is as low as one percent.

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Drinking Clay
What It Is: A mud mask you can swallow: Clays like bentonite or montmorillonite (both from volcanic ash) are mixed into water or smoothies.
Find It: At juice bars like Juice Generation in New York and Juice Served Here in Los Angeles (and in celebs' kitchens—Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz are fans).
The Sell: Bolstered by its skin-care cred—clay helps dry out acne—it's supposed to absorb chemicals and pesticides in your body.
The Truth: Do you really want to chug a glassful of grit? Plus, "clay has been shown to contain known carcinogens, including arsenic," says New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe.

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