HFG dietitian Brooke Longfield shows how to find credible sources of nutrition information.
Have you heard that bacon is the new superfood? Or that bone broth cures all? If you have, chances are you’re on social media where a raft of faulty and unsubstantiated health claims are floating around. And those catchy headlines? Well, they’re great clickbait – drawing us in when, deep down, we probably know the answer is too good to be true.
But you’re certainly not alone. I’ve found myself curiously clicking on links here and there, my attention being well and truly captured by the headline alone. This is the very nature of social media, and why the blogosphere is bursting with health and wellness gurus sharing their so-called ‘expert’ advice.
The rise in social media is having a notable impact on the foods we eat, as well our knowledge around nutrition – or more to the point, misinformation masquerading as ‘fact’ that can harm our health. For dietitians – the real experts in nutrition, whose insights are based on solid, science-based facts – this is a worrying trend.
So, how do you separate fact from fiction when you see a new health headline? And is there an app to help you do it? Well, there probably is. But for now, next time you’re reading about an amazing new diet or ‘health habit’ with dramatic results, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Does the diet or ‘lifestyle change’ require cutting out entire food groups such as dairy foods or carbs?
2. Is the author promoting a book/meal plan/supplement or ‘magical’ food that promises to help you lose weight fast?
3. Is the claim based on testimonials from people, without being backed up by any scientific research?
If you answer yes to any of these, the article in question may be filled with more empty promises than scientific answers.
Oh, and if you’ve heard that quitting carbs is the best way to torch fat, pick up the July issue of Healthy Food Guide magazine where our degree-qualified nutrition experts give you all of the answers.