“Eat this…no, eat that…actually, eat THIS!”

There is no lack of nutrition information in today’s hyperconnected world.  The seemingly endless supply of advice, “dos” and “don’ts”, and nutritional guidance readily available at our fingertips can leave our heads spinning. Websites, YouTube videos, weight management apps, social media posts, podcasts, and online blogs spin an intricate web of nutritional claims with limited support of research-based evidence. The allure of quick weight loss fixes, athletic prowess, and powerful super foods is hard to resist.

Sorting through the threads of fact and fiction when it comes to healthy eating can seem like a daunting task.  Where do we even begin? Applying a few guiding principles is essential when navigating the maze of online advice. Here are a few tips to help you evaluate the merit of guidance you find online about healthy eating and nutrition.

Consider the Source

Below are some questions to consider about the source of the information.

  • What are the credentials of the author?
  • What is the credibility level of the organization the author is representing?
  • Does the author site evidence from reliable sources, such as peer reviewed articles and/or clinical trials?
  • Are there any biases, like a commercial interest, which could be influencing the author’s beliefs?

Read Beyond the Headline

Internet content developers are all vying for the same thing: your attention. A headline with shocking, unusual, or cutting-edge dietary claims designed to get your attention may only be partially true. Taking a headline at face value without reading the full article can leave you with incomplete guidance, potentially leading to suboptimal choices. So, if you spot a headline that interests you, take time to thoroughly read the entire article through a skeptic’s lens in order to analyze its contents, claims, and limitations.

The Bottom Line

As you wade through the sea of information and advice online, these simple tips can help you separate fact from fiction. Judging the source’s credibility and reading beyond the headline are tactics to help us be more informed on the internet.
However, if the sea of online dietary and nutritional information still proves too murky for your liking, or if you want further verification of the guidance you discover, consider meeting with an expert in the field of nutrition. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RD/RDN) -like those who round out our Pritikin ICR clinical team - are food and nutrition experts who can provide guidance specific to your individual situation.