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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds SIMONE GIBSON: There’s a lot of nutritional information on the internet these days. There’s thousands of sites, bloggers, people to choose your information from. And often, that’s the first port of call that people use when they want to go and look something up, particularly regarding their health and nutrition. Everyone needs to understand more about where they’re getting their nutrition information from and what information they can trust. A range of people can give some really good advice, but sometimes the advice isn’t so good. Sometimes its designed purely for commercial gain, and sometimes it is just based on their own experience. So if it worked for them, they think it is going to work for everyone.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds So the danger is this could end up costing people a lot of money, or they might miss out on essential nutrients, or they might find that the advice is so restrictive that it impacts on the rest of their life. I think a warning sign is when someone refuses to accept information that’s outside of their own diet or recommendations. And a good sign is when someone’s willing to explore options with you that they might not necessarily have known about before, and they’re willing to seek more information on your behalf. So some of the questions that you can ask yourself are– what are the credentials of this person offering the information?

Skip to 1 minute and 29 seconds Are they a professional who has experience in that area, or are they just talking about they heard about this diet, or it’s based on their own personal experience? Are they looking for a quick-fix solution? Are they promising something can be achieved in a really short amount of time that probably is unrealistic? Are they claiming that they can cure everything or making outlandish claims? Are they removing major food groups without replacing essential nutrients? Is the expert’s educational background any way related to nutrition science? Do they have practical experience in the area, or are they basing it purely on their own experience? Do you know other people who have seen them?

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds Do they belong to a professional body with accreditation and regulation procedures? And is there a pathway for people to make complaints if they’re not happy with the service that they’ve been provided? Does it involve the purchase of special foods or supplements? Does it work? If you followed their advice, did it help in any way? Does the advice provided conflict with what your doctor or other health care professional has provided you? And how flexible are the recommendations? Is it one single standard way of eating certain foods at certain times of day, or is there flexibility and collaboration involved? The answers to these questions will help you identify professionals who you can trust and the sound nutritional advice that you can follow.

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 seconds I encourage everyone to look at the facts so they’ll be able to make reasoned decisions when trying to find a healthy way to eat. I would be really interested to hear about your experiences with obtaining nutrition information on the internet.

Nutrition information: What to look out for

Watch Simone talk about the importance of accurate health and nutrition information, and what you can do to determine if a source of nutrition information can be trusted.

Talking point

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners your thoughts and experiences with following nutrition advice.

  • Have you followed nutrition advice from the internet?

  • If so, how did you choose which advice to follow?

  • What evidence or credentials were you given?

You might like to take some time to read comments made by other learners, and if you find these comments interesting, respond to them. Remember you can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

Find out more

To further explore the importance of accurate health and nutrition information, consider reading the abstract for Protecting the Value of Medical Science in the Age of Social Media and “Fake News”, which suggests researchers disclose dietary preferences/advocacies just like they would a financial conflict of interest (COI), for instance, if an author follows a vegan diet, gluten free diet etc.

This article is included to help demonstrate some of the research in this area, but we do not expect you to purchase a subscription to read the full paper. Hopefully, just reading the summary provided in the free abstract will be sufficient for those that are wanting to know more about these study.

Learn how to use food as medicine in healthcare practice

At a time when food and nutrition information is at an all-time high, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about food based recommendations for health.

Monash University has developed a set of courses for healthcare professionals (including GPs, nurses and midwives) that will improve your knowledge of nutrition and health topics, and give you practical skills for providing simple nutrition and food based advice to patients.

Find out more

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Food as Medicine

Monash University

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