Finding Reliable Nutrition Information

May 22, 2010 in General Nutrition by Webmaster

It is difficult to recognize whether or not the nutrition information we read and hear is reliable. The information often comes from those selling supplements, diet plans, or products with claims that do not measure up. To help weed out fiction from the facts, Doctor Grandma’s has provided you with some quick tips on how to avoid false claims.

Here are some hints to identify information that may not be reliable:

  • Unrealistic claims that a product will cure a large number of health problems. (There is no special juice or tonic that will "cure all.")
  • Advice that sounds too good to be true.
  • Advice that suggests replacing food with supplements.
  • Advice suggesting you avoid whole categories of food.
  • The information suggests action that offers an instant cure or quick fix.
  • How can you verify reliable nutrition information on the web?

The American Dietetics Association makes the following suggestions:

  • Who is the sponsor or owner of the website? In general, websites ending in .edu (meaning an educational institution) or .gov (meaning government agencies) tend to be among the most credible websites. Websites ending in .org (meaning organizations, often nonprofit) also can be a good source of information, along with some sites ending in .com (meaning commercial sites). The key is to be a savvy consumer. If in doubt, ask a Registered Dietitian or other health care provider to help you evaluate a website before you put too much value on the information it provides.
  • Who are the contributors or authors of the information posted on the website? Remember, credible information comes from qualified nutrition experts. Look for credentials such as RD (registered dietitian) or MD, and affiliations with nationally known health organizations such as the American Dietetic Association, or ADA; the American Medical Association, or AMA; or the American Heart Association, or AHA.
  • Is the information factual with cited references, or is it opinion-based? Look for information supported by established scientific findings that includes a list of references or links to the scientific studies or other data mentioned in the article.
  • Does the information have an educational purpose? If the website is promotional in nature, there is a good chance that the information may be biased. Be on the lookout for charlatans selling products and cures with unfounded health benefits and potentially dangerous side effects.
  • Are there regular updates and postings? Reliable websites should be regularly updated to reflect the most current nutrition information and advice available. Keep in mind that being current doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate.

By being careful, consumers can find reliable nutrition information on the Internet. The following are several reputable sites to get you started: