TORONTO, ON – Critical thinking isn’t just for the classroom! Canadians are bombarded with nutrition advice and it’s hard to know what to believe. Dietitians of Canada has teamed up with PEN: Practice-Based Evidence in Nutrition® to develop five tips to help Canadians spot misinformation.
“Canadians are hungry for information about nutrition and health, but not all advice they see and read is evidence-based. In fact, much of it isn’t,” warns Kate Comeau, dietitian and spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada. “It is very easy for a celebrity or a self-proclaimed expert to share misleading information about nutrition and health on the web or social media. We want to help Canadians sort through the noise to find the best available nutrition information.”
Five tips to spot misinformation
- Is the person or product promising a quick fix like fast weight-loss or a miracle cure? If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is! Making changes to your health means a commitment to eating well and exercising regularly. Check out the ‘Your Health’ section at dietitians.ca
- Are they trying to sell you products such as special foods or supplements instead of teaching you how to make better food choices at home, at play, at work or while eating out?
- Do they provide information based on personal stories rather than on facts? Although it’s nice to hear about a success story from a celebrity, it’s not proof that something works or is true. Nutrition advice should be based on the best available scientific research. Dietitians are university trained, regulated health professionals who use tools such as PEN® to make sure they are basing their advice on the best available information.
- Is their claim based on a single study or a few research studies? Were the studies with animals or humans? Are you similar to the humans that were studied (age, gender etc.)? The stronger the study design, and the more studies available that draw the same conclusions, the stronger the evidence that something it true.
- What are the person’s qualifications? Think about it: You wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge, you’d ask a professional engineer. You also wouldn’t ask a celebrity to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same thinking should apply for nutrition advice. Dig a little deeper and ask for credentials. The title dietitian is protected by law, just like a nurse, dentist or pharmacist. Look for the initials “RD or PDt” to identify a registered dietitian.
PEN: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition® is a dynamic knowledge translation subscription service available internationally as individual or group licenses for food, nutrition, and dietetic practice. Dietitians have practice-based questions, PEN® has evidence-based answers. PEN is an internationally recognized resource to keep dietitians on the leading edge of dietetic practice.
Learn more about its 10th anniversary celebrations including a collection of the most significant changes in Nutrition and Dietetics in the past 10 years at pennutrition.com/enews
About Dietitians of Canada
Dietitians of Canada is the national professional association for dietitians, representing 6,000 members at the local, provincial and national level. As the voice of the profession, Dietitians of Canada strives for excellence in advancing health through food and nutrition.
Dietitians of Canada supports the access of Canadians to evidence-based food and nutrition information at dietitians.ca and helps them locate a dietitian for nutrition counselling and nutrition services at dietitians.ca/find.