March is nutrition month! This year’s theme is finding your healthy! Let’s talk about to find nutrition information that is scientifically based. 

Nutrition in the news can be confusing. You can find articles that say the same food is good for you or bad for you. How do you know who and what to trust?  

Where is the information coming from?  

  1. One study or many? Look for meta-analyses and reviews. They take many studies, or years of studies to see what the research has to say on a specific topic. 
  2. Who funded the study? – many studies are funded by the food industry who are interested in a certain outcome. Be cautious. 
  3. Compared to what? Is there a control group – for example, if you’re studying people who eat soy, is it compared to a group who doesn’t? 
  4. How big is the study? The bigger, the better.  
  5. What kind of study? The best individual studies are called double-blind randomized controlled trials. These are hard to come by in nutrition and usually are specific to a single nutrient. Take soy again. The study may give people ‘isoflavones’ – an active ingredient in soy.
    1. Double-blind means that the participants don’t know whether they are getting the nutrient or not. That’s why it would be hard to study soy in general. You would know if you’re eating tofu!
    2. Randomized means that the person who gets or doesn’t get the nutrient is randomly assigned. 
    3. Controlled means there’s a control group (see point #3.)
  6. Are experts weighing in? Studies should be peer-reviewed, meaning that experts in the field assess a study before it is published. 

There are so many aspects to examining the research. That’s why you should look for an expert! In Ontario, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, or nutrition consultant, without any background in the subject. Look for Registered Dietitians (RD), who are the health professionals that study the science of nutrition. Each province has an RD regulatory body to ensure that the public has access to safe, quality nutrition services. 

Other nutrition experts are masters or doctorates in nutrition or public health, who have the titles MSc or PhD. Other good information sources for nutrition advice include governmental bodies, public health agencies and large universities. 

If you have general nutrition questions, you can email and our Registered Dietitian can help you to make sense of the research!   

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 in
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