Nutrition Fake News: Sorting Fact from Fiction

Brianna Crane, Graduated Dietetic Intern

Reviewed by: Celina Paras MSc, RDN, LD.

In a world of TV celebrities and social media giving health and nutrition advice, how do we know if what they say is true? Use this checklist to help you decide if the nutrition advice people are telling you is fact or fake news.

Question #1: Does it sound too good to be true?

Be wary of people telling you one product or food can completely change your health. If they say that it can prevent or cure many types of sicknesses, it is most likely not true. Food and nutrition does help our bodies stay strong and healthy, but we need more than one food or product to keep us healthy. Eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein is important for giving your body the nutrients it needs. If you hear celebrity advice about food and nutrition that sounds too good to be true, it probably is! No one food makes you 100% healthy!

Question #2: Is it a change you can make long term?

There are many food fads that may make you lose weight. Eating very low carb or greatly restricting calories may make you lose weight quickly, but it is not a healthy change you can make for the rest of your life. Also, it can do far more harm than good. Look for positive changes you can make that can last a long time like exercising for fifteen to thirty minutes every day or eating dessert only one time a week. Focus on what you can do, not what you cannot. Any diet that makes you worry about every meal or snack you eat may not be good for your body or your mental health.

Question #3: Is it expensive?

Celebrities make money by using their fame to sell products. If you watch TV, you will see many famous people trying to sell you something. Most have not studied nutrition and thus are not the best nutrition source. If a person is selling an item that is expensive, they are probably using it as an income, rather than a way of life. Be wary of what they tell you and question how much they know on the topic. Remember a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is the food and nutrition expert so check your facts before you pull out your checkbook!

If the advice or product you are being sold answers yes to any of these questions, step back and ask why. Will this this actually help you make a long term change that will not drain your wallet? If the answer is no, decide whether this product really is too good to be true that way you can know if its fact or fake news