Nutrition Web Cred: Is that True?

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Search for diet or nutrition information online and you’ll probably see ads or websites touting miracle weight loss diets or sites promoting pills and elixirs to cure and prevent cancer and other diseases.

Sometimes you can spot the most outrageous nutrition and diet claims as bunk, but often there’s a little grain of truth that can draw you in. These sites often use personal testimonials, but they may also cite studies. How do you find valid and reliable information?

Last week, one of the AICR HealthTalk questions addressed how to find trustworthy information on the web related to recent news about diet and health. You can read the answer here.

The American Dietetic Association has listed 10 red flags of junk science. If you note any of these red flags on a diet or nutrition website, produce or service, be very skeptical.

1. Recommendations that promise a quick fix.
2. Dire warnings of danger from a single product or regimen.
3. Claims that sound too good to be true.
4. Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study.
5. Recommendations based on a single study.
6. Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations.
7. Lists of “good” and “bad” foods.
8. Recommendations made to help sell a product.
9. Recommendations based on studies published without peer review.
10. Recommendations from studies that ignore individual or group differences.

The web is a valuable tool for learning more about diet and nutrition, but not all sites are equal.

Our website provides evidence-based, practical information on how you can make everyday choices to reduce risk of many common cancers. AICR’s information is based on our expert report and its updates, considered to be the most authoritative report on the subject by researchers, health professionals, government health agencies and other health organizations.

In general, government websites or those of national health organizations such as the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association are reliable and evidence-based.

What are your trusted websites that you use for diet and nutrition information?


    Author: Alice RD

    Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

    2 thoughts on “Nutrition Web Cred: Is that True?”

    1. Suggestions are straightforward and common sense, however I have noticed my patients often do start to believe a claim if it references a study. I reiterate that it is vital for any credible drug or treatment have multiple studies, including the ones that argue against the drug or treatment and address those criticisms

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