In today's society with the rise of social media we're begining to find that a lot of people are out there giving nutrition advice. Whilst I fully appreciate the growing interest in nutrition I think it's essential where we are getting our advice from. I'm forever speaking to clients about FADs they've read and incorrect advice they're following. Unfortunately, the term nutritionist is currently unregulated which means anyone out there can call themselves a nutritionist and give unsound advice.
Here are my top 5 tips to look out for when reading nutrition advice on the internet:
1. Qualifications: We often think that qualifications take us to the next step in getting a job and from there on it's all about experience. In the world of science when you're dealing with people's health, qualifcations are all to important. Look for where these qualifications have come from. Did the individual partake in a 6-week online course or a 3 year science degree at university? You ideally want to be looking for a university degree.
2. Registration: This is the next important factor to look for when taking advice. Is the individual registered with a specific body. The three key ones which you can look for are AfN (Association for Nutrition), BDA (British Dietetic Association) and BANT (British Association For Nutritional Therapy). These bodies are there to act as a regulation and to put rules in place for their registrants to ensure that no incorrect advice is being put out there.
3. References: Does the article link to scientific evidence? Are these strong scientific studies (this is something which is more difficult to interpretate without training, however, look for sample sizes and sponsorship of the study to provide you with some basic reliability).
4. Advice: Is the advice targeted to the general population and does it suggest that there are other causes and solutions to your problems. Advice should never be given as a be all and end all. It's essential that the nutritionist speaks generally and that more specific advice should be provided on a one-to-one basis.
5. Explanation: Is there an explanation behind the advice? Does the explanation make sense? You absolutely have the right to question the advice to ensure it makes sense to you.
There you have my top 5 tips for begining to ensure that the advcie you're given is reliable and scientifically sound.