As a dietitian, I get asked (a lot!) about diets, food facts, food fads and ‘health’ products that promise everything from quick weight loss to boosted brain health, super immunity, anti-aging and muscle strength. There's so much bogus information out there, it's hard to keep up with!
So, how can you separate food facts from fiction?
Beware of my ‘red flag’ words. As a dietitian, words that raise a red flag and make me take a second look: detoxify, purify, cleanse and miracle. These are words that are often associated with 'bunk' or junk science.
Don’t believe the hype. If a product claims an extraordinary list of conditions it “cures”, it’s a sham. Nothing is a cure-all for everything. Nothing.
Investigate. Don't accept nutrition information at face value; look for current scientific evidence to support claims before buying expensive products or making radical dietary changes like eliminating whole categories of nutritious foods.
When looking at nutrition information online, be critical and ask yourself these questions:
Is the website promising a quick fix or a miracle cure?
Do you have reasons to mistrust the person, organization or company that runs the website?
Are they trying to sell you something instead of educating you?
Are the website writers unqualified to be giving you nutrition information?
Do they have ‘facts’ that sound too good to be true?
Does the information come from personal opinions rather than scientific evidence?
Is the content missing reviews or verification by registered dietitians or other credible health experts?
Are the website claims based on a single study that may draw the wrong conclusion?
If you answer ‘yes’ to most of these questions, the website may not be reliable.
So where can you find reliable information online?
Well, you can start with Dietitians of Canada (dietitians.ca) and eatrightontario.ca for evidence-based articles on all sorts of healthy eating and nutrition topics. There are also tons of dietitian-written nutrition and food blogs (you're on one of them!) -- look for the blog author's 'RD' credentials. Also check out Dietitians of Canada member bloggers list for a bunch of super star dietitian bloggers.
Keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all nutrition recommendation; what works for your best friend, might not work for you. If you want to make long-lasting changes to how you eat that will have a positive impact on your health, get personalized advice from a dietitian. Find a dietitian in your area at dietitians.ca/find.
Join me, and dietitians across Canada to take the fight out of food!
March is Nutrition Month and Dietitians of Canada is helping Canadians ‘Take the Fight out of Food’. As a Nutrition Month Spokesperson, I'll be out and about in the media, sharing tips on how to deal with common food fights this month. For more dietitian-approved tips (and some awesome recipes), visit www.nutritionmonth2017.ca.
This blog post was adapted from dietitian-created Nutrition Month materials from Dietitians of Canada.