Aubrey Eicher - How to Sift through the Nutritional Hype


Remember, nutrition is truly a science – it is dynamic, changing, and growing with each new finding. Be mindful to follow credible sources for your nutrition information. Here is a recommended list:

  • American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Journal of the American Dietetic Association
  • Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA):
    • American College of Nutrition (CAN)
    • American Dietetic Association (ADA)
    • American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
    • American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN)
    • Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
    • Society for Nutrition Education (SNE)

Note that these are not the main sources of information presented in the popular media. They may be written quite dryly and are not entertaining. But remember that media is a business and that the best consumer information will cite sources for reported facts.

Aubrey Eicher - Nutritional Questions to Ask

Consider the sources, if you can tell what they are:

  • Where did the content come from?
  • Who is responsible for it?
  • How often is it updated?
  • Who did the study?
  • What type of study was it?
  • How many subjects?
  • What it a double-blind study? (A double-blind study is a research study set up so that neither subjects nor the investigators know which study group is receiving the placebo and which is receiving the active substance. It is regarded as the most effectively unbiased type of research study).
  • Were the results published in a peer-reviewed journal?

Remember, just because it is in print or in the media, does not necessarily make it true – particularly on the internet! Be mindful of “junk science” – sloppy methods, interpretations, and claims that lead to public misinformation. Information in the public media is not always an accurate or complete representation of the current state of the science on a specific topic.

Aubrey Eicher - Red Flags of Junk Science (FANSA)

FANSA has written “10 Red Flags of Junk Science:”

  • Recommendations that promise a quick fix
  • Dire warnings of danger from a single product or regimen
  • Claims that sound too good to be true
  • Simplistic conclusions drawn from a single study
  • Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations
  • Lists of “good” and “bad” foods
  • Recommendations made to help sell a product
  • Recommendations based on studies published without peer review
  • Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups

Basically – treat all claims as guilty (bogus/hype), until proven innocent.


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