March is Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitians across Canada have dedicated the 2017 campaign to helping Canadians end their fight with food and help make mealtime enjoyable again. Unfortunately eating for many people can be a source of everyday frustration and confusion. And, let’s face it. Not everything we read and hear is true. Well-meaning friends and family can pass along information that may be popular or trendy but not necessarily accurate. The Internet can provide a wide-range of information that is not based on fact or science. And while many of us know that, it’s difficult to sort through all the nutrition information that comes our way.
A three-step approach
1. Spot the problem
Define what’s causing your fight with food. Is it information overload? Constant claims about the latest food fad, quick fix or “super food” make it difficult to know what to believe. How do you know if the information is accurate and credible and how do you incorporate it into your daily life?
2. Get the facts
It is a good idea to separate food facts from fiction. Do a little research and read carefully while asking yourself these questions: Is the website promising a quick fix or a miracle cure?
Do I have reasons to mistrust the person, organization or company that runs the website? Are they trying to sell me something instead of educate me on how to make better food choices? Are the website writers unqualified to be giving me nutrition information? Do they have facts that sound too good to be true? Does the information come from personal opinions rather than scientific evidence? Is the content missing reviews or verification by medical experts? Are the website claims based on a single study that may draw the wrong conclusion? While reading, you may see the following words and you should consider them “red flags”: cleanse, detoxify, purify, and miracle.
If you have answered yes to some of these questions; then the information is probably not reliable and you should look to other places such as Dietitians of Canada or Health Link BC to find accurate and science- based information.
3. Seek support
Find support by talking to trusted sources such as a Registered Dietitian, doctor or family and friends. Call Health Link BC at 8-1-1 to speak with a Registered Dietitian or email your questions about food and nutrition to a Health Link BC Dietitian.
By doing a little research and asking questions from reliable sources you can make positive changes to your diet and eating experiences for you and your family. If you make healthy food choices and take pleasure in tasting and discovering new foods, you may find that eating can be enjoyable, delicious and stress-free.
Written by Dr. Paul Martiquet, Medical Health Officer for the Sunshine Coast and Powell River.