NUTRITION INFO: GOOGLE SEARCH VS. EVIDENCE-BASED

NUTRITION INFO: GOOGLE SEARCH VS. EVIDENCE-BASED

by Joseph, Mmeyene Victory (Nutritionist)

Nutrition is one subject with a lot of information and misinformation from the net, to TV, newspapers and magazines. People’s interest in nutritionand health is heightened daily, people want to know the right food to eat in some cases, they are seeking miracles: tricks to help them lose weight, foods to forestall aging, and supplements to build muscles and these are translated into huge amount of money spent on services and products sold by both legitimate and fraudulent businesses.
The big question is

HOW CAN YOU DISTINGUISH VALID NUTRITION INFORMATION FROM MISINFORMATION?

The Internet offers endless opportunities to obtain high-quality information,but it also delivers an abundance of incomplete, misleading or inaccurate information. Simply put: anyone can publish anything.
To determine whether a website offers reliable nutrition information, ask the following questions:

WHO? - Who is responsible for the site? Is it staffed by qualified professionals? Look for the authors’ names and credentials.

WHEN? - When the site was last updated?Because nutrition is an ever-changing science, sites need to be dated and updated frequently.

WHERE? - Where is the information coming from?Addresses ending in gov” (government),“edu” (educational institute), and “org”(organization) generally provide reliable information; “com” (commercial) sites represent businesses and, depending on their qualifications and integrity, may or maynot offer dependable information.

WHY?- Why is the site giving you this information?Is the site providing a public service or selling a product?

WHAT?- What is the message, and is it inline with other reliable sources? Information that contradicts common knowledge should be questioned.

To help you find reliable nutrition information on the Internet, I recommend you consult the Tufts University, they maintains an online rating and review guide called the Nutrition Navigator (navigator.tufts.edu). The ratings reflect the opinions of a panel of nutrition experts who have scored selected websites on the basis of their accuracy, depth, and ease of use. In addition to a rating, the Nutrition Navigator provides a review of the website’s content and links to recommended sites. Similarly, the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch) provides guidance in finding useful and reliable health information online.

But then, the BEST medium to get accurate and current nutrition information is to consult a professional in Nutrition and Dietetics.
The challenge now in Nigeria is most people claim to be nutritionist/dietitian, in my next article I will be writing on how to identify Nutrition Expert and a quack.

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