10 Things We Used to Consider OK But Not Anymore

When was the last time you picked up a cigarette and thought, “Mm, healthy” before lighting up? Better yet, when was the last time you infected yourself with tapeworm on purpose thinking it was a good idea. There are plenty of crazy ideas we used to have about what was healthy and ways to cure our sickly selves, but whether big or small, we eventually learn these things we used to consider OK for our bodies simply aren’t anymore. I think they call that evolution, or maybe just common sense.


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Cigarettes were, at one point in time, considered part of the daily norm. You woke up, made breakfast, got the kids ready for school, all while smoking cigarettes. You had them on the plane, in the car and in the office. Tobacco can be traced back to the 15th century, leading up to 17th-century tobacco enemas and eventually leading to cigarettes. It wasn’t until the 1950s that people started linking cigarettes to lung cancer, and in 1992, tobacco was banned in toothpaste. Not until the 21st century were heavy bans placed on indoor smoking, and anti-smoking health campaigns became prominent.

Heroin Cough Syrup

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Just as crazy and archaic as bloodletting, another thing you don’t see much of anymore, heroin cough syrup isn’t as easily accessible on the shelves these days. Developed by Bayer in the late 1800s, traces of heroin were used in cough syrup to suppress coughs. It discontinued by 1910 when it was discovered heroin was a teensy bit more addictive than they thought. In 1924, heroin production became illegal.

Cocaine, Coca-Cola and Meth

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Coca leaves, which are used to make cocaine, was one of the two chief ingredients in the original Coca-Cola. The idea of the invention was brought about by a wounded colonel of the American Civil War who became addicted to morphine and requested a substitute, leading to the idea of coca wine in the late 1800s. Today, we still have Coca-Cola, and while it’s not made with fresh coca leaves, it’s still bad enough that there are terrifying things we use Coke for.

Methamphetamine, the poor man’s cocaine, used to be sold over the counter. Now, despite people’s claims that cocaine and meth are anti-depressants, focus enhancers and generally a wonderfully good time, these stimulants are heavily outlawed with the introduction of drug cartels, drug wars and addiction studies.

Vitamin Water

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Although it’s nothing compared to the impressive history of Coca-Cola, Vitamin Water is a drink made by the same company that posed as healthy “enhanced water” for a long time. But in 2009, Vitamin Water was called out for being essentially just sugar water with its 33 grams of sugar per bottle, a sure-fire way to help with obesity and diabetes despite its clever name and labeling.


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In the 1500s, mercury was claimed to be a cure for syphilis. John Hunter, who had syphilis, used mercury to allegedly cure himself, but then it was purported that Hunter may have just been in a remission period and that the mercury wasn’t actually helping. Hunter died of a heart attack soon after. Personally, I’d rather have syphilis.

Dairy Milk & Bread

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Remember bread? Remember having to finish a glass of milk before you could leave the dinner table so you would have big, strong bones one day? Those days were not long ago, but in the wake of the biggest health-focused generation to date, we’re finding that these things we grew up with aren’t exactly good for you, especially if your body isn’t processing them correctly. Almond milk is reportedly better for you than milk as dairy milk is higher in saturated fat and calories, and most bread is packed full of gluten, the 21st century’s greatest nemesis.

Radioactive Drinks

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This just shows how far we’ve come in a relatively short amount of time. People used to think radioactive material was good for helping with aging obstacles like arthritis. A preventative tool for anti-aging, radioactive water became a hit amongst the healers who thought that the healing properties of their hot springs were good for ingestion.

According to Business Insider, Even Byers was an industrialist who drank three bottles a day before his agonizing death. In 1932, Wall Street Journal wrote a piece called “The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off.”

Shark Cartilage

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John Prudden experimented with the use of shark cartilage in cancer treatment, based on the idea that sharks don’t get cancer. The link was that if sharks are mostly cartilage and they don’t get cancer, then the cartilage must be good for cancer. Turns out sharks do get cancer, and this is no longer a tested method.


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Although it’s not exactly bad for you, it turns out your mother forcing you to floss before bed might’ve been a waste of everyone’s energy. Recent studies have shown that flossing actually has a pretty weak case. In order to prevent gum disease and cavities, it’s been widely recommended by oral hygienists that people floss daily, between meals in fact. Yes, it’s been known to help with gum inflammation and remove debris from between your teeth, but the direct link to gum disease prevention is not one that floss can currently be tied to in a reliable way. Although the ADA will deny it until their gums turn green. The floss we want to see is butt floss.


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It’s bad enough when your dog gets a tapeworm, you can’t imagine you’d ever willingly give yourself one in order to lose a few pounds. In the 1950s, people infected themselves with the parasite, which would feed off their food, and allow people to lose weight. Not sure it’s worth the cramps, pain, diarrhea, headaches, vomiting and general malaise. Listen, I may not always like having to eat a lot and work out to put on some muscle, but you don’t see me swallowing bowling balls to do it.