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Who should you trust?

Who should you trust?
How should we go about finding reliable nutrition information? And how can we know if an article is being honest? There are some tips that we can use to help us here. Firstly, we must examine the type of article that we we’re looking at and where it is published. Is it in an academic journal, or on the website of a trusted organisation? If it is an academic journal, we will know it has been peer reviewed and scrutinised by experts. However if it is a newspaper, a blog, or on social media, it requires further scrutiny. Some ways that we can do this is to look at the author and their credentials.
If there is no author listed, it is often reasonable to be suspicious. If an author is listed, what are their qualifications? And are they qualified to provide nutritional advice? Many people claim to be nutrition experts, but are not. So it’s important to look at these carefully. If a headline sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, headlines such as, eating chocolate halves your risk of heart disease, or, I lost 10 kilogrammes in two weeks thanks to a low carb diet, are more than likely not a true reflection of what actually happened, and require a little further investigation. For example, one person’s account of what happened does not provide an objective picture of what would happen to everyone.
We are all different. This is why we need research that informs us about what will happen to most people following a specified intervention. Does the article single out one specific food or nutrient? We always need to remember that there are no miracle foods. We do not eat single foods or nutrients. We eat a mixture of foods as part of our diet. A healthy diet is one that consists of balanced combinations of foods from multiple food groups. Finally, if the piece isn’t directly from an academic journal, does it at least link back to it? If there is no link to the study, it makes it harder for you, the reader, to verify that it’s actually true.
Or if the piece is on a general topic, does it provide citations for where you could go to find the evidence? This way you can ensure that what you’re reading is supported by evidence. Always check the sources of your evidence if you can.

If you were unsure about which sources you trust in the previous Step, watch this video for our top tips on how to find reliable food and nutrition information.

To help you get started, we’ve provided a list of links to reliable sources for various EU countries in the downloads section at the bottom of this Step. Remember that there are also Registered Dieticians or Nutritionists and your country may have these listed in a publicly available register.

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Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines

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