Month: December 2017
When it comes to finding information online regardless of topic there is a golden rule: just because you read it online doesn’t make it true. Nowadays anyone can start a blog and post articles on topics they know nothing about and ultimately unknowingly give false information.
If you try to find information online about healthy eating, it is because you want to treat your body right and avoid all the damaging ingredients. The last thing you’ll want is to use unreliable, fake information that can even do you harm. This post will serve as a guide that will teach you to navigate through a world of misinformation and distinguish between bad and good advice.
Find the Right Source
Needless to say, an anonymous post should not have the same weight as a reliable, consecrated source of information. In any field, healthy eating included, the most reliable source is formed of experts and professionals that have dedicated their entire lives to studying or practicing as online doctor.
Specifically, to the topic at hand, there are very good sources that offer information on nutrition and the best way to eat. One example is The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the largest organization in the world that has been around for 100 years and gathered a great number of nutrition professionals. Most, if not all of the articles are written by professional dietitians.
Other reliable sources include Medline Plus, CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity and the British Nutrition Foundation. Other sources, including blog posts or other articles, can be seen as trustworthy if they quote other reliable sources or employ professional dietitians.
How Can You Spot an Unreliable Source?
We all know that in order to make sure the information we get is correct we have to learn to spot the fake. Here are some tips to help you do that:
· Don’t trust commercial sites
The reason for this is simple. For example, a website that sells protein powder supplements will tell you they are magic and you need as much protein as possible because they want to increase their sales. An impartial source will tell you that most athletes, not to mention regular people, will get all the protein they need from food alone, without any supplements.
· Complete anonymity
If you read an article online and no matter how much you try you can’t find who the author or the blog owner is, you should be careful about trusting that information on healthy eating. I’m not saying that anything that comes from anonymous sources is bad because it isn’t. But you should be careful and try to get confirmation for that information for a more reliable source. Even an anonymous site can be trusted if it links to other reputable sources.
· Protect yourself from outdated information
Yes, if a food is good for you now, it should be good for you in ten years too. But new studies are conducted all the time and new information arises. A good way to make sure you get the right information is to check the date the information was posted or updated.
Many people might recommend certain health products with hidden motives such as getting a percentage of the sales or because it is a popular view.
· True links
You should always check the links given as sources of information about healthy eating. You may be surprised to see that sometimes the source not only isn’t reliable but it leads to unexpected pages.
· Compare sources
Chances are you’ll find information regarding a certain topic on several websites and you should always compare them to other websites.
· Check for red flags
There are some red flags that should alert you the site doesn’t provide any reliable information. Such is an abnormal focus on a single nutrient or ingredient. Our bodies need all nutrients and this is achieved through a balanced healthy eating.
Other red flags include unrealistic claims, strict restrictions, the recommendation of a single ingredient as being “good for everything”, a focus on appearance and losing weight rather than on health, the support for very high doses of vitamins and minerals without any medical basis.
It has become more important than ever to be able to distinguish between misinformation and a reliable source that proclaims accurate nutritional facts. False, exaggerated messages are spread quickly through the internet and the correct information is often buried on websites people aren’t likely to read. In nutrition, new information appears all the time and you need to use critical thinking and check to see if that information is backed by evidence.