Let’s face it. Our culture is full of all kinds of nutrition opinions. Some of them are reasonable and helpful. And most of them are wacky, not backed in science OR common sense.
While the latest nutrition fad might not be harmful in itself, the constant bombardment of headlines on TV/online and opinions via our social media news feeds is wearing us down mentally and emotionally.
How do I know?
It happens to me too. I am weary of all the headlines and never ending opinions from non-experts, and I’m supposed to be the expert!
I know it has to be completely overwhelming for my clients. I started this website 10+ years ago for the sole purpose of helping my cancer clients to cut through the hype and key in on the most important things they need to do to nourish themselves. I’m still here and still doing it!
I have to make choices about what to feed myself and my family. And although I know that good nutrition is not a guarantee to prevent cancer or any other disease, I believe that it does help my body function at it’s best. Even more, I feel better when I am well nourished.
So what’s a reasonable person to do when reading the constant click bait nutrition headlines?
Here are Julie’s tips on How To Read Nutrition News Without Losing Your Mind!
- Look past the headlines. In this day and age, headlines are all about grabbing your attention, your listening ear, and your click. They will write the headline in any way that gets your attention. Please do not pay the headline ANY MIND unless you are going to read the full report that follows it.
- Do not watch or follow news or social media outlets that you do not trust to vet the information. This is really key. If you know who you trust, and you make sure that what you read isn’t just one person’s opinion, but rather a report that is reviewed by multiple people (sources) who know what they are talking about, it will make your life so much less stressful. Let the others go. Be careful about what your friends share on social media! If it’s not a site you trust, just scroll on by and don’t even bother reading the headline. If you don’t learn this skill, you will lose your mind!
- When you read the news article, dig into the details. Is this a news report covering a new “study”? Who published the study? Was it in a peer-reviewed journal? We like those because it means more than one person is reviewing the information for accuracy and bias. If it’s just one group touting the claim, is it something that has consensus among multiple evidence-based organizations?
- If the headlines are stating that “research says”, find out if the research was done in humans. If the research was done in an animal model, or in a laboratory setting (petri dish, pipettes or cell lines), then while it might be interesting, it is not a finding that you should consider applying to your daily life. Remember, you are a human. The human body is complex. A finding in a petri dish does not mean it works the same way in the human body. Also, rats and humans aren’t the same, just in case you didn’t know. : – P
In order for study findings to be applicable to our daily lives, we want to know:
- We want to know that the research was conducted in humans that are in a similar situation as me. (i.e. if it’s going to make claims about vegetables being good for cancer survivors, you want to know that the study was actually done using only cancer survivors!)
- We want to know that the study was well designed. Using enough people, was double-blinded, randomized, and from a reputable university are good signs.
- We want to know that this was not the only study finding this conclusion. We believe things to be true when multiple well designed studies came to similar results. That’s why we like meta analyses and systematic review publications. They are able to look over multiple studies on the same topic and decide whether there is a trend in outcomes.
This is what leads us to evidence-based recommendations!
You do not need to be pulled right and left by the headlines. If you stick to the recommendations with the strongest evidence and let the rest fall to the side, I think you will have lowered anxiety and also find that your common sense is actually something you can rely on.
I hope that helps you. It certainly helps me keep my mind in tact!
The last thing I want for my clients who have faced a cancer diagnosis is to spend their precious days in a constant worry about each and every food choice. Instead, I want you to enjoy nutritious food and then go on and spend your time LIVING!
Thanks for being here and sharing your stories with me. May we all do a bit less promoting the crazy and a bit more passing the peace!