How awesome that we can devote an entire month of the year to nutrition?! In reality though, nutrition is a much larger part of our lives than just one single months worth. Nutrition is important every single day of our lives, and for those of us who study and work in nutrition, it is our job to ensure that everyone else has access to the right information! This year’s Dietitians of Canada campaign is focused on taking the fight out of food by helping Canadians to sort through misinformation provided through the internet and social media, gather credible, evidence-based facts, and seek support from Registered Dietitians.
Although there are a wide range of “food fights” that can occur both internally and with others, spotting the problem is the first step.
Spot the Problem: With so much information at our fingertips, it’s often difficult to determine what and who to trust. From fad diets to detox cleanses and magic herbal teas, nutrition information can be overwhelmingly confusing! What we need, are the facts!
Get the Facts: When searching for nutrition information, advice needs to be evaluated for its credibility. Use these questions to help determine whether the information you’ve found is reliable and credible:
- Who runs the website? Can you trust them?
- Is the website trying to sell something? Who pays for the website?
- What does the site say – does it sound too good to be true?
- Where does the information come from? Is it based on more than one clinical study? Was the study done in humans or animals? Is the information up to date?
- Is the information reviewed? Is there an editorial board?
Answering these questions can often be difficult without full understanding of, and/or training in how to critically appraise research. Just because a study finds a particular result or outcome, doesn’t make it fact. It’s the details of the study that matter, and these details are often hard to understand. It is therefore, important to seek support from those who devote their lives to understanding and keeping up-to-date in nutrition research.
Seek Support: If you had a broken bone, you wouldn’t check the internet for the easiest way to fix it yourself, so why when it comes to fixing fights with nutrition, is this often the answer? Making decisions about your health, in all forms, should be done with the help of a regulated health care professional. In Canada, Registered Dietitians are just that, regulated health care professionals! The information and assistance provided by a dietitian will always be evidence-based, up-to-date, and individualized. So, when searching for nutrition information that is credible and reliable, look for the designation “RD”, or search for information from trusted websites, such as Dietitians of Canada, EatRight Ontario, or Healthy Canadians.
What it all comes down to: don’t take everything you read online for face value, try to determine the credibility and reliability of the information you find, and if you’re still not sure, seek the help of a Registered Dietitian!
Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at http://www.NutritionMonth2017.ca.
Happy Nutrition Month!