With the growth of interest in nutrition and social media, there is much misinformation out there! Here are our go-to questions to ask yourself when assessing whether the information you come across is valid or not.
- Is the person or product promising a quick fix like fast weight-loss or a miracle cure? If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is! Making changes to your health means a commitment to eating well and exercising regularly. Check out the ‘Your Health’ section at www.dietitians.ca.
- Are they trying to sell you products such as special foods or supplements instead of teaching you how to make better food choices at home, at play, at work or while eating out?
- Do they provide information based on personal stories rather than on facts? Although it’s nice to hear about success stories, and many of our clients find our success stories very inspirational, it’s not proof that something works or is true. Nutrition advice should be based on the best available scientific research. Our various programs are developed and updated based on scientific research.
- Is their claim based on a single study or a few research studies? Were the studies with animals or humans? Are you similar to the humans that were studied (age, gender etc.)? The stronger the study design, and the more studies available that draw the same conclusions, the stronger the evidence that something is true.
- What are the person’s qualifications? Think about it: You wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge, you’d ask a professional engineer. You also wouldn’t ask a celebrity to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same thinking should apply for nutrition advice. Dig a little deeper and ask for credentials. The title dietitian is protected by law, just like a nurse, dentist or pharmacist. Look for the initials “RD or PDt” to identify a registered dietitian.
Lastly, when looking at information, ask yourself ‘does this apply to me?’ For example, research may show that a given dietary approach may be effective for reducing bloating in those with IBS, or perhaps lowering blood pressure in those with high blood pressure, if you don’t have IBS or high blood pressure, perhaps that dietary approach isn’t right for you.