Credible vs. Questionable Nutrition Resources: With the extensive amounts of nutrition information that is available online, it is super important to practice good habits when searching for credible information. Many web sources can be outdated, biased, or lack credibility and scientific evidence. Below is a list of things you should keep in mind when searching for nutrition information online and how to find reliable nutrition information.
Reliable Nutrition Information Checklist
- Consider the type of source– Choose websites that are created by government agencies, educational programs, or professional organizations. These websites typically end in .gov, .edu, and .org. Scientific journals are also a good resource that includes evidence-based studies.
- Determine the site’s purpose– If the website is trying to sell you an idea or a product, they most likely will be providing inaccurate or biased information. It may be helpful to visit the website’s About page to learn more about their company or organization.
- Sponsor– Evaluate if the information displayed on the website favors their sponsor. Websites can often give biased information based on who is paying for their site.
- Look for evidence– Nutrition is heavily based on scientific research and should be supported by evidence. Make sure that the website provides their sources of information and that there are multiple sources that are credible.
- Check the date– Nutrition is consistently evolving, therefore, it is important to make sure the website is providing up-to-date information. I usually like to look for sources that were created or reviewed in the last 5 years.
- Talk to a professional– When in doubt, talk to a health professional or a nutrition specialist to discuss any questions or concerns.
Examples of credible nutrition websites:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Have you ever seen a nutrition claim on social media that looks too good to be true? That’s because it probably is. In today’s technology-focused society, social media can also be an influential source for information. Although some of these companies claim that they utilize third-party fact checkers, misinformation can still be spread easily throughout the public. Therefore, it is important to get in the habit of using these basic concepts to double-check the information you are consuming on a daily basis.
Evidence Based Nutrition Professionals and Reliable Nutrition Information Accounts to Follow:
Food Science Babe (Instagram/TikTok @foodsciencebabe)
Food Science Babe is a credible source due to her credentials as a Chemical Engineer and Food Scientist. She is known to correct myths regarding food and the food industry, and uses evidence-based information to prove it. In a majority of her posts, you can also find links to the sources she utilizes to back up her claims.
Steph Grasso, MS, RD (Instagram/TikTok/YouTube @stephgrassodietitian)
Steph Grasso is a registered dietitian that uses her social media platforms to teach viewers about nutrition topics and common nutrition myths. She frequently uses science-based information and displays facts in fun videos that are broken down for the general public.
Alan Flanagan (Instagram @thenutritional_advocate)
Alan currently has an MSc and PhD(c) in Nutritional Medicine and uses his Instagram platform to dive into a variety of research studies on common nutrition topics. He takes the time to break down the main points of each study.
Aidan Muir (Instagram @aidan_the_dietitian)
Aidan is an accredited sports dietitian that specializes in strength athletes and sharing evidence based nutrition information. Although he mainly targets his information towards athletes, he shares a variety of studies and research that can benefit anyone.
Laura the “Sassy” Dietitian (Instagram @thesassydietitian)
Laura is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietitian, and CrossFit Coach. She does an amazing job uncovering the myths of fad diets and brings science to the table with a little sass. Check out her content!
Dan Feldman, MS, RDN, NASM Personal Trainer (Instagram @powerlifterdietitian)
Dan is a registered dietitian and personal trainer with a passion for powerlifting. He uses evidence based nutrition and goes beyond typical diet programs to help people develop individualized eating habits to improve their weight lifting performance.
Jake Draviczki Dietetic Graduate Student
Jake has an amazing Instagram and Youtube channel breaking down the facts! He is a dietetics student and neuroscience enthusiast with easy to understand nutrition science info.
Check out how to identify high quality supplements next!
Examples of posts on social media that are questionable:
These types of posts are very common on social media and can be very tempting because of their promise for weight loss in such a short time period. Although some of its basic recommendations may be helpful to some, the post is very questionable because the source is unknown and there is no evidence present to support its claims.
In my experience, successful diets do not come with a list of rules and restrictions. Everyone is different, so a specific diet with 8 rules to follow will not be efficient for most people. I believe it is important to do what works for you specifically and focus on building healthier lifestyle habits and relationships with food.
This is another example of a post that is trying to sell a quick weight loss idea that looks too good to be true. It is always important to investigate who the Instagram creator is and if they provide any information on their credentials or expertise on the subject.
Further, health improvements or weight loss do not result from adding just one smoothie or drink into your diet. Substantial results originate from consistent habits and balanced food choices.
“Influencers” are very popular on social media and tend to promote specific products through partnerships they have with a company. These creators are most likely getting paid or are receiving benefits through the company to promote their products. If you see a product or a diet plan that you find interesting in, I highly recommend doing some research on the influencer, company, and product to determine if they are credible.
It is also important to emphasize that most of what influencers share on social media is not realistic. They’re usually showing you the highlights of their day and don’t always follow what they are promoting. Keep in mind that what may work for one person, may not always work for everyone.
Co Author: Katelyn Schwartz B.S Dietetics and B.S Exercise Science