How do I know what is a trustworthy source of nutrition information?

The wonderful thing about the World Wide Web is that it gives us access to a lot of wonderful information. The not-so-great thing about the World Wide Web is that it also gives us access to a lot of unsound and sometimes downright dangerous information. Here are some good rules of thumb to help you tell fact from fiction: Avoid anything that sounds too good to be true; Watch out for words like “miracle,” “magical,” “instant,” as these are often there to lure you in to a product or services promotion; Ask yourself the question, “What is the purpose of the website?” If it is trying to sell you something, your radar for detecting quackery should be set on high; Ask yourself, “who is providing the information?” Sellers of fraudulent products often use case histories, testimonials, and anecdotal reports to justify their exaggerated claims; Just because something is endorsed by an athlete (or to make matters even more confusing a health professional) does not mean that it is a credible product. In fact, with these types of endorsement relationships, the spokesperson often hasn’t even tried the product, much less excelled in their field because of it; Always check the product through a different resource to make sure the claim appears to agree with most recommendations of medical, sports science, and nutrition professionals.
Marco Di Buono
Nutrition & Dietetics
The absolute best way to make sure you are using a trustworthy source of nutrition information is to make sure you are getting it from a legitimate source.

If the thought of navigating through the web to try and make send of which sources are valid and which are less so seems daunting, then stick to organizations that have earned public trust in this area. The American Dietetics Association, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and other well established government and non-government agencies offer the most reliable information, as do their international counterparts (e.g.: British Heart Foundation, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, etc).

Many of these trusted sites may provide links to other reputable online resources. 
Lona Sandon
Nutrition & Dietetics
When looking for nutrition sources on the web, look for .edu or .org sites. These sites are typically considered more credible and offer more unbiased information. Sites that end in .com are typically trying to sell you something and will likely use clever advertising strategies to get you to buy nutrition products that you may not need and could be harmful.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends keeping an eye out for 10 Red flags of nutrition mis-information:
  • Recommendations that promise a quick fix
  • Dire warnings of danger from a single food or nutrient
  • Sounds to good to be true
  • Simplistic recommendations based on complex studies
  • Recommendations are based on a single study
  • Statements are refuted by reputable scientific bodies and organizations
  • Promotes the notion of good or bad foods
  • Must buy a particular product
  • Touts a specific food or nutrient as a cure all
  •  Is a "one size fits all" approach

Continue Learning about Healthy Eating Guidelines

5 Key Nutrients and How to Get Enough of Them
5 Key Nutrients and How to Get Enough of Them
In a society that’s become so focused on losing weight, it’s second nature for many people to check nutrition labels for a single number: calories. An...
Read More
How do I ingest 4-5 servings of legumes, nuts or seeds weekly?
Marisa MooreMarisa Moore
This is easy! A serving of beans (legumes) is just 1/2 cup. A serving of nuts or seeds is 1 oz which...
More Answers
Why are healthy foods more important than supplements?
Debra Fulghum Bruce PhDDebra Fulghum Bruce PhD
We know that each food we eat has a unique profile of nutrients -- vitamins, minerals, antioxida...
More Answers
Health and Our Diet
Health and Our Diet

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.