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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Nutrition - Spotting Nutrition Misinformation

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open – Knowledge is Power

Remember, not all health information can be trusted. What seems like a simple solution may make healthy eating more complex. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Take charge of your health, and watch for these red flags.

Are certain foods eliminated from the recommended diet?

Our body is like a car. It won’t run well without the right kind of fuel.  When you cut out healthy foods or nutrients from your diet, you may be left feeling tired and sluggish. Use Canada’s Food Guide to help you find a balance.  Fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats are all part of healthy eating.

Is a supplement or product advertised as a replacement for food or a cure for disease?

Supplements are not a substitute for food. Many companies sell supplements to generate profit and require you to take them for a long period of time. This can cost you a lot of money without improving your health. Think food first. Talk to a Registered Dietitian, primary care practitioner, or pharmacist about your needs before buying into supplements.

 

Is the product supported by testimonials and personal stories?

“Success stories” about a product do not mean that the product or service really works. Look to see if there is objective scientific research to back up the claims. Science speaks - Information should be based on multiple studies and a large population, not just a few small studies and personal opinion. Check to see if the supporting information is current and when it was last updated. Some companies cite research that is a decade or more old, with nothing more recent to support their claims.  Many supplement companies do their own research to make their products look good. Use caution when the product is being sold in a flyer, on a website, by a publisher or from the office of someone who will profit from the sale.

Can you trust the organization? Is the source endorsed by a health agency or association you can trust?  Look for names and credentials for the people promoting the product to know if they are even qualified to speak to the topic. 


Is a “quick fix” being promised?


When overly simple conclusions are drawn from complex information, and if the information just doesn’t seem to make sense or sounds too good to be true, this is a big red flag.  “Quick fix” solutions are popular but don’t work in the long-term. Ask yourself if you can live with these changes for the rest of your life, and if they are healthy changes. Slow and steady wins the race. Take small steps you can live with. Eat healthy foods, in the right portions and keep active for long-term success.  Remember that foods are neither “good” or “bad”, and that no one food or product will make you healthier.

 

Check with these organizations about particular products and diets you may have heard about.




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