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Media literacy for nutrition information

Media literacy for nutrition information

These days, it seems like just about everything you’d ever want to know can be found with a quick Google search. The internet and popular media are teeming with nutrition information from recipes to ingredient lists to guidance on how to manage health issues that affect nutrition to opinion pieces about which diet a person should follow.

How can you feel confident that the information you’re reading is reliable? Here are five questions to assess media to determine whether nutrition information is accurate:

  1. Who is publishing the information? A great rule of thumb is that if you can’t find a name or an organization supporting the information, they didn’t want to be associated with it because it isn’t true. If you do find a name or organization, visit their home page and “About” page to learn more about whether they’re a reputable resource. Check an individual’s credentials, as well. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is considered an expert in nutrition.
  2. What is the information saying? If it sounds too good to be true, or if it is sensationalized, there’s a good chance it is not trustworthy information. Further research is important to ensure that the information you find is backed by evidence.
  3. When was it published? Try to find a date of publish or a date of review. Current information is important, as nutrition research is constantly changing and we’re continuously learning more about the subject.
  4. Where did you find the information? Stumbling across something via social media or an advertisement is likely to have a very different result than if you consciously seek out the information. When a person or organization is trying to get you to believe false information, it is easier for them if they can put that information in front of you rather than let you seek it out on your own.
  5. Why is it important that you believe this? Consider what is at stake if you buy into the information provided. Perhaps it is a blogger publishing sensational information to try to gain followers or a company trying to sell a product. If the publisher has nothing to gain from your belief in the information provided, there’s a good chance the information is evidence-based without slant.

Still looking for some dependable resources? Check out websites such as:

You can also reach out to your nutrition or healthcare providers to help you find additional information and determine what is best for you as an individual.

Jamie Marchetti, MS, RDN, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at Campbell County Health. For a one-on-one nutrition counseling session, call 307-688-1731. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/diet.