Do you look for food and nutrition information on the internet? With an endless amount of nutrition advice and conflicting messages available, finding good quality information that you can trust is often a challenge. While some food and nutrition recommendations are based on strong scientific research, many are not. Some advice can be incorrect, misleading, and may even be dangerous to your health. Look for ‘red flags’ to help you decide what is true and what is not.
- Is there a promise of a quick fix like fast weight loss or a miracle cure? Is there a sensational headline for the next big thing? If a diet or product sounds too good to be true, then it likely is. Making changes in your habits means a long-term commitment to healthy eating and physical activity.
- Is information based on personal stories or testimonials? It may be nice to hear a success story from a celebrity or friend, but it's not proof that something works or is true. Nutrition advice should be based on the best available research.
- Is the advice based on a single study? The best answers to food and nutrition questions are found by combining the results of many studies. The more research that shows the same results the more trustworthy the advice is. Also, the more people in the study and the longer its duration, the stronger the results will be.
- What are the writers’ qualifications? You wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to design a bridge, you’d ask an engineer. The same thinking should apply to nutrition advice. Check the website section “about us” to find out more about the people or company responsible for the website.
- Does the advice include buying special products or replacing foods with supplements? Food is the best source of nutrients. Special products and supplements are usually not needed to improve your health.
- Does the advice emphasize a single food or nutrient? Current food and nutrition evidence shows greater health benefits from eating a variety of nutritious whole foods rather than focusing on single foods or nutrients.
- Is the information on the website current? Reliable websites will include the date of when a webpage was written and be regularly updated to reflect the most current nutrition information and advice available.