“The ultimate detox,” and “8 foods to eat for weight loss” are just a few examples of the articles that are in the news. These titles drive us to click on the link because a quick fix sounds appealing.
The constant food messages in the news can be confusing and can lead to many unanswered questions for you and your child. This is a guest post by Bailey Title who is a Masters of Public Health, Nutrition and Dietetics candidate working with Michael Lacey RD.
There is no quick fix when it comes to healthy lifestyles.
There is a lot of false information in the media and online. On the bright side, the internet can also be a great source of reliable nutrition information when used correctly. The key is being able to understand how to decide if an article is accurate.
Here are 8 tips when looking through the news:
- Does the website have advertisements?
Businesses pay websites to help promote their brand. The website is making money on the advertisements. This may be their purpose rather than giving reliable nutrition information.
- Is the information up to date?
If it is a very old web page or there is no date, it may not have the latest information about the topic.
- Understand the difference between Registered Dietitian vs. Nutritionist.
A Registered Dietitian has a nutrition background and is a health professional registered with a college. A Nutritionist doesn’t need a nutrition education; anyone can call themselves a Nutritionist. Look for the RD credential’s following the author’s name. This also applies to social media (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!)
- Is the article showing both sides of the story?
Look for articles that remain neutral. For example, they will show you the “positives and negatives effects” of a certain diet.
- Everything in moderation.
If an article shows that a certain food is good for our health, it is not helpful to eat that food all of the time. On the other hand, if the article states that the food may not be healthy, it doesn’t mean you should never have it.
- One single study rarely makes a scientific discovery!
Look for more studies on that topic to check its truthfulness.
- Look at website endings.
If it ends in .gov (produced by the government), .edu (produced by the education institution), and .org (produced by a non-profit organization), the website is reliable!
- Does the website state its author?
If not, the information is most likely unreliable. This does not always apply to the website endings mentioned above, for example, Health Canada.
Remember that online information does not replace speaking to your health professional. Ask them about what you found online and see if that information works for you.
Contact Toronto Public Health at (416) 338-7600 and speak to a health professional if you have additional questions about your child’s growth and amounts to feed them.