In one of my first posts, Healthy Eating Basics, I briefly mentioned how it is important to make sure the health information you find on internet comes from credible sources, and I provided a few sites you could refer to. I cannot stress enough how important it is to check your sources. There are too many fads and trends, and unhealthy practices that people are raving about because they tried it and it worked for them. I recently had someone show me a list they printed from the internet that was supposed to be ingredients that contain MSG. Pectin was on the list. For those of you who don’t know, pectin is a fiber found in various fruits and vegetables. So this poor soul was driving herself crazy trying to avoid all of these ingredients (it was a LOOOONG list) thinking they were full of MSG. This got me thinking. It is too easy to find misleading/wrong information on the internet, and unfortunately if you don’t know better, it’s easy to fall victim to it. I’m not saying there isn’t truthful information on non-credible sources, but you should always double check the information you find with sources you know you can rely on, just to be safe.
I am the queen of resorting to Google. If someone asks me something that I don’t know my first response is always “I don’t know, Google it.” So I get it. It’s a lot easier to type your question into a search engine and see what pops up. If this is your first plan of attack, let me tell you how to try to weed out the sketchy sources.
- Look for .”org, .gov, or .edu” at the end of the website URL. Edu= educational, .org= non-profit organization, and .gov is a government website. These are generally reliable sources.
- Utilize Google Scholar. Good Scholar is great if you are looking for peer-reviewed research studies. I used this a lot when I was in college. It provides you with scholarly literature, which is usually published by professional societies and academic professionals.
- Check the date. General rule of thumb: if the information is over 10 years old, keep looking. Sure it may have been true at one time, but new research has probably come around on the topic that is more accurate for your purposes.
- Check the authors credentials. Look to see if the author has published any other books or articles and see if sources were cited. Credible authors generally provide sources that back up their information.
If you would like to go straight to the source you can check out some of these trusted websites:
These are some websites that are frequently referred to in the nutrition profession that provide reliable information. I hope you can find them useful 🙂
What are some of your go-to sites for health information?