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Food Fads: What Information Can You Trust?

February 21, 2017 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Food Fads: What Information Can You Trust?

Let’s face it. Not everything you read or see is true. And while many of us know that, it’s still easy to be swept up by popular ideas we see online, read in magazines or hear from friends. When it comes to nutrition advice, knowing how to separate food fact from fiction is a skill that is worth its weight in carrots!

March is just around the corner. Along with Spring’s warmer weather, March brings Nutrition Month. This year, Dietitians of Canada wants to help you take the Take the Fight out of Food. Use their three-step problem-solving approach to avoid misinformation and get real answers to nutritional concerns.

Imagine yourself in this scenario: a friend posts an article on social media about a new diet that she swears by. You click on it as you’ve been trying to eat healthier foods. The article is on a website with a lot of advertising and there is no date on it. Can you trust this nutrition advice?

Spot the problem: You don’t know what to believe. That’s the problem. You need to find a way to tell whether the article is promoting a product or giving evidence-based advice you can trust.

Get the facts: Some sources are more reliable than others. Look for clues on the accuracy of articles by using the STRIP² method. Be curious and ask these questions:

  • Is the website or article promising a quick fix or a miracle cure?
  • Do I have reasons to mistrust the person, organization or company that runs the website?
  • Are they trying to sell me something instead of educating me?
  • Are the website writers qualified to be giving me 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 medical 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.

Seek support: Now that you know what questions to ask in order to determine whether information is based on product sales versus science, check the credentials of the writers and look for sites written by regulated health professionals whose work is reviewed by other experts. Find support from these sites that are filled with reliable information:

Get answers to your food and nutrition questions directly from a registered dietitian. Call 8-1-1 or email a HealthLinkBC dietitian. This is a FREE service in BC!

Keep an eye out for more Nutrition Month articles in the coming weeks!

Author’s Bio: This blog post was adapted from materials found on the Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month website. Dietitians of Canada has led Nutrition Month Campaign for more than 30 years. Learn more!

Related blogs

STRIP for the Truth: Online Food and Nutrition Information

Recommended resources

Take a Closer Look: Media and Health
Making Sense of Media Messages: Media and Digital Literacy
Dietitians of Canada: Nutrition Month
Dietitians of Canada: Is There a Difference Between a Dietitian and Nutritionist?

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