We live in a time of great data privilege. Never before has so much information been so accessible to a human being as it is to us right now! Everyday hundreds of ads, posts, articles, reviews, reports, and journals of all kinds flash across our screens. They may be shared by a trusted friend or relative on Facebook, promoted by a popular fitness page, or seem to appear with no rhyme or reason on our news feeds. Unfortunately, a large portion of this information circulating across the internet is false. Not only is it false, sometimes the claims could be downright harmful for our health. So how can we decide which sage advice should be taken seriously and which should earn a dislike? Keep reading below to learn how to protect yourself from nutrition misinformation online.
Edit: Check out this article over the battle against nutrition misinformation online!
What does the author stand to gain?
First and foremost, you want to consider any potential bias the author of the article/review/post may have. If this nutrition information is aiming to sell you any type of product you should be skeptical right away. Money is a strong incentive to make health claims that may not be backed up by hard science. Also, the author may have good intentions and still be biased by life experience.
What are the author’s credentials?
You wouldn’t go to your optometrist if you want help with your braces, so don’t rely on a “professional” opinion of an individual who has no specific nutrition training. Make sure to obtain information from people who have completed the proper training and received education on the topic of nutrition from the appropriate accrediting bodies (i.e. the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
Get a second opinion…and a third…and a fourth…
When in doubt, reach out to more than one source of information – even professionals! Take advantage of your ability to find multiple articles over the topic you are curious about. You may learn something similar but new about the same topic from several sources.
Where to go online?
The National Institute of Health – a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.
PubMed.gov – developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), PubMed was designed to provide access to citations from biomedical literature
If you are still questioning your information, consult a Registered Dietitian!
A Registered Dietitian (not to be confused with a nutritionist) is a professional who has completed the appropriate amount of schooling and postgraduate training (an internship) at an ACEND Accredited supervised practice program, passed a national exam, and has kept up with continuing education. This ascertains that Registered Dietitians are kept up to date with the evolving world of nutrition information. Click here to be directed to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and to be referred to a Registered Dietitian that will fit your needs!