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Nutrition: Separating Facts from Fiction

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Sharing both correct and incorrect information is easier than ever, especially with the popularity of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other digital means. Nutrition is one of the areas where much false information is widely shared. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are enticed by an amazing diet, exercise device or other information.

  • Does the advice or product promise a quick fix? Complicated medical problems seldom have quick, effortless or simple solutions.
  • Does the advice cast doubts about current food or lifestyle practices? Question whether you need the product to make you healthier. Often some changes in our lifestyle, diet and exercise habits are what could help us feel better and more energetic.
  •  Does it sound too good to be true? Be careful when a product is advertised as a “cure” for serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease or arthritis.
  • Does the advice provide lists of bad and good foods? Don’t exclude foods or food groups. What you don’t eat can affect your health, too.
  • Is a product being sold as the solution to the problem? Keep in mind that the seller may be more interested in your money than your health.
  • Does the advice refer to studies reported in nonscientific sources? Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is a good indication that an expert panel has reviewed the claims. Success based on testimonials and case studies does not prove the usefulness or safety of any product.
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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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