For today’s post, I’m going to go on a bit of a rant. Bear with me. The media Is. Full. Of. Garbage. You are well aware of this already, I know. What gets to me, as many health professionals can relate, is that the web, TV, radio, and some popular books/magazines are FULL of bogus health advice driven by ignorance, marketing schemes, personal opinions, and a lack of scientific data that misguides the public, who are only looking for answers. I, myself, will often do internet searches on a health topic on a site that I think is legit then have to do a double take at what I’m reading and question their sources (if they even have any).
Let me beat up on Dr. Oz. Ask any dietitian, we are not fond of Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz is not a dietitian. He is a doctor, yes. A cardiac surgeon. So of course, he knows EVERYTHING about nutrition and weight loss, right? Dr. Oz makes a fortune using these formulaic, flowery sales pitches. He picks a cool sounding ingredient, then sells it as a miracle cure for this and that, without any scientific backing, or evidence-based guidelines supporting it. Health professionals are angry. Consumers are angry. He actually got in trouble not too long ago for these claims and total disregard for evidence-based medicine and nutrition. He scares me.
Don’t turn to Dr. Oz for nutrition advice. My husband made a good point the other day on the topic, remarking, “Would you go to a podiatrist to operate on your brain?” Well, I would hope not. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told, “but Dr. Oz said….” then I have to do damage control (no, I don’t slap them in the face, but I may or may not be batman in my spare time). It is not fair to you, and it is definitely not fair to dietitians, doctors, and other health professionals who work so hard in getting credible information to the public. YOUR primary care physician (who knows your medical history) or a registered dietitian (RD) is your best bet, I promise. We RD’s require at least a bachelors of science degree in dietetics, followed by an extensive, supervised post-graduate internship, followed by a huge registration exam, then obtaining national registration by the Commission of Dietetics, and obtaining licensure by the state as well.
Unfortunately, it’s true, evidence-based nutrition recommendations don’t sound as exciting. Eating your fruits and vegetables, varying your diet with whole foods, and exercising probably wouldn’t make a very popular TV show (I at least try to make this blog entertaining…). This is what science supports however, and does not support these quick fixes or miracles in a bottle that cost $$$. The American Association of Nutrition and Dietetics advocates a healthy overall diet pattern, and to not focus on any single ingredient for health or to prevent disease. This is why I hate fad diets, which tend to eliminate certain food groups and don’t focus on variety. Nutritional deficiencies, weight regain after they’re over, and health complications are too often the result.
Dr. Oz is just one of the many culprits out there. Internet searches for health/nutrition info are not much better. I notice a lot of misinformation is often right at the top of the search, and more legit sites are at the bottom, if at all. There is a lot of unnecessary fear mongering in finding nutrition info as well, which ties me back to my post on that.
Two major things to remember. First, any fad diet that advocates an elimination of a food group is not backed by science and could have detrimental consequences to your health. Second, always check with your health care provider before introducing any dietary supplement. Just because it is advertised as “natural,” doesn’t always mean it’s safe for you, especially if you have medical conditions or are on other medications that could potentially interact.
Ok. Rant over. The good news is there are ethical, legitimate health and nutrition resources out there for you. You just have to be careful. Even websites written by doctors can sometimes be part of a marketing scheme and not backed by sound science. Save yourself from poor dietary advice by only going to trusted sources that use nothing but scientific evidence-based guidelines to support their claims. Websites that end in .edu, .org, or .gov are more likely to be better sources. Or, you can always come see me! 🙂 Here are a few to check out.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org
American Diabetes Association www.diabetes.org
Office of Dietary Supplements – by NIH https://ods.od.nih.gov/ (this is a great site to check if you are thinking of taking a supplement..)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) https://www.nih.gov/health-information
Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/nutrition.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/index.html
The Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle
The American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/GettingHealthy_UCM_001078_SubHomePage.jsp
Health.gov – contains 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/
Choose My Plate – USDA http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
Until next time! Check out http://www.food4success.com for more information on how to make an appointment to come see me or for my class schedule!