This entry is a follow up to my post, “Who and What Should you Believe?” I talked then about looking for credentials when seeking someone to provide reliable nutrition information or counsel you on matters of nutritional health. In this post, I will provide some further information about how to examine information critically and assess the reliability of the source. There are many unscrupulous counselors and organizations who are selling a product. They may cite research that is either bogus, inadequate or not scientifically rigorous. to ensure you get good information, try some of these sites:
1. Look for documented research to back the claims. Many university, other academic and government agencies conduct research. Look for studies that had a large number of subjects and were done over a period of time. The outcomes of experiments with food intakes and behaviors are not evident after 3 weeks. Beware any magic solution that has you achieve a goal in a month.
2. Listen to your gut feelings. If it sounds too good to be true – it is. Just because someone lost 50 pounds in 3 months, doesn’t mean it’s true. Even if it were, it would not be healthy and I guarantee you, it will be gained back in no time. There is no substitute for a permanent change in behavior and healthy eating.
3. Whenever a source vilifies one kind of food, beware. Most foods are fine moderation. It is the continued practice of overeating and eating too much of the wrong things that gets us into trouble with our health.
4. Language you can’t understand is like double-talk. You get enough of it to sound reasonable, though you think it is just a little above your head. No, it is designed to trick you into believing the part you do understand – which is whatever they are selling. If the message is not clear and comprehensible, walk away!
5. Verify the information you are exploring. Use reliable, science-based resources. Here are a few sites with great information:
-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)
-The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com)
-The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (www.yaleruddcenter.org)
–USDA‘s ChoseMyPlate (www.choosemyplate.gov)