How to avoid nutrition misinformation!
How do you determine what is good nutrition?
Information on the internet and in the news?
With hundreds of millions of websites, searching for nutrition information can be an overwhelming experience.
So if you’re doing your own research how do you determine between fiction and credible information?
A great start is to determine WHO is providing the information – although that isn’t always clear on social media. From here applying critical thinking to assess the information being presented by:
- Making sure you understand the concepts discussed
- Identifying the pros and cons
- Checking for inconsistencies
PubMed is a credible source for finding research abstracts and links to full articles on nutrition and helps you to apply those critical thinking skills.
Often we want quick answers through google or even social media… So again we find ourselves asking who to trust?
Identifying nutrition experts
How often do you find social media PTs, influencers, celebrities and foodie blogs suggesting a specific diet or product that they themselves have tried?
*So do we take them at their word?
Looking for more credible sources, our next point of call is often to ask our doctor. While our doctor is there for our health, their nutrition advice is often general healthy eating guidelines rather than individualised, goal oriented plans.
If you’re trying a new diet plan or assessing if you have any underlying health issues, an accredited practising dietitian is the best person to reach out to.
With 5-6 years of study and at least 6 months practice in a clinical setting, these people have specialised in clinical nutrition and are qualified to speak on the subject, develop diet plans and provide detailed diet instructions… no one else is legally allowed to.
A nutritionist is helpful and can provide similar information services to the community among other administrative and coordinating roles, however professionally they can not work clinically as a dietitian does. They are still considered a great source of information if they have spent 2-3 years at university studying a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition.
So now we know who to trust and what kind of information they will provide?
I just want to highlight a few obvious red flags when reviewing the information you have just seen online:
- Personal testimonies – Are just hearsay and the weakest form of evidence.
- “Natural” – Not necessarily better. Time proven options, natural or not, are still proven.
- Quick and easy – Even proven products/plans take time to be effective.
Nutrition is much more simple than many people would have you believe.
Eat a well balanced diet from the 5 food groups (check out the Australian dietary guidelines). Eat an adequate and balanced diet that supports your physical needs and energy requirements.
Eat a wide variety of foods and drink plenty of water.