How to Become a Smarter Consumer of Nutrition Information

We are constantly being inundated with information about what we should or shouldn’t be eating to look and feel our best. It seems that every time I am on the playground I pick up on a conversation discussing the latest program that requires complete elimination of entire food groups for a month. And, just last night, I counted 11 documentaries on Netflix related to food, nutrition and health. How do you know what to believe?

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) recently conducted its 12th Annual Food and Health survey. The survey revealed that eight in 10 (78 percent) of respondents say that they encounter a lot of conflicting information about what to eat/avoid. More than half of those respondents (56 percent) say the conflicting information makes them doubt the choices they make. About one in four consumers (28 percent) say they rely on friends and family for nutrition and food safety information, which tops other sources including conversations with registered dietitians, health-focused websites, and the news.

I conducted an informal survey of my co-workers in the New York office and across the Food + Beverage Practice here at Padilla, and found that the top sources of nutrition information for this cohort are blogs/social media and news sources.

So, with all the ways to ingest food information out there, how do you know what is the most trusted?  Here are a few questions to ask yourself while navigating the nutrition “noise”:

In my experience, I have found that most people aren’t aware of basic nutrition science, and human anatomy and physiology. Once you become familiar with how the body works and processes food, you will remove the words “cleanse” and “detox” from your vocabulary forever. As always, the most trusted source for nutrition information is a credentialed food and nutrition professional, such as a registered dietitian or other medical professional.

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