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How to Find Sources of Reliable Nutrition Information

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  • 0:01 Nutritional Information
  • 0:52 Consider the Source
  • 3:12 Avoiding Misinformation
  • 4:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

There is a lot of nutritional information available through the Internet and other media outlets, so how do you find reliable sources of nutritional information? Follow along to find out and learn how to protect yourself from false claims.

Nutritional Information

Wow! This ad says that taking one of these Super Herb pills before each meal caused the average person to lose 20 pounds in just one month, without diet or exercise! That sounds great!

We've all seen these ads, and their claims are pretty enticing. Who wouldn't want to lose their extra pounds without the pain of changing their diet or working out? Yet, the truth is that not everything we see in print can be trusted.

Because nutritional information can be manipulated in order to sell a product, you must understand how scientific studies are performed and evaluated so you can tell the difference between reliable nutritional information and hype. In this lesson you will learn how to find sources you can count on and how to spot misinformation.

Consider the Source

When you evaluate nutritional information you want to consider the source. In other words, who's making the claims? We see in our ad that there are quotes from people who used the product and claim they lost weight. These testimonials share personal accounts of the quality of a product, but they are not a reliable source of information. In other words, just because someone says a product worked for them, doesn't mean it will work for anyone else.

So who can you trust? Well, one reliable source for nutritional information is the government. Nutritional recommendations from the government are assembled by committees of experts who sift through the latest scientific studies. This information is then dispersed to the nation's population to help citizens design a healthy lifestyle.

Other reliable sources are universities. Nutritional information that comes from universities is backed by research that has been subjected to the scientific method, which is a systematic set of procedures that scientists follow to gain knowledge. Any conclusions from these research studies are then subjected to the peer-review process. With the peer review process the researcher's work is scrutinized by others in his or her field. If the peers in the field find that the study's results were interpreted properly, then the paper can be published in a scientific journal. Being published is a big deal for researchers and they work hard to have their studies included in respected and reputable journals, such as The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The Journal of Nutrition, and The New England Journal of Medicine. Now admittedly, these scientific journals can be hard to read because they contain a lot of scientific jargon, so luckily there are also some reputable newsletters available from respected institutions, including The Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter and The Harvard Health Letter. These newsletters present information from scientific journals in easy-to-understand terms.

There are also reputable organizations that you can turn to for nutritional advice. These organizations are often not-for-profit, which means they are not looking to sell any products from the recommendations they make. Examples include the American Dietetic Association and the American Medical Association.

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