09 Aug Food Fact Checking: Why You Should Question Everything
We are constantly bombarded with information and it’s easy to take the messages we are exposed to at face value. However, it’s more important than ever to question the information you’re consuming and how it’s shaping your viewpoints. It’s time to get used to some food fact checking!
I often see the way that my clients and friends have had their viewpoints on health and nutrition influenced by sources I would not agree with. There are various reasons for this misinformation. Sometimes it is simply out of date – it’s impossible to ensure every website page ever created is kept updated with the latest information. Other times information is communicated by those with a greater interest in making money or gaining power than your health.
Here are a few examples of sources of information to question and carry out your own food fact checking on…
Even those we might naturally trust. The NHS website, for example, has some advice on nutrition that is very outdated including ‘cutting down on all fats‘ and ‘just over a third of your diet should be made up of starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta’. (If I believed this to be true I would be eating pasta for dinner five nights a week. Sadly, I don’t.)
We are often lead to believe food products are healthy when they’re really not. Forget the images and wording on the front of the packet and turn to the nutrition information and ingredients list on the back for the truth. There’s often a surprising disparity between the two.
Influencers often promote products because they’re paid to. Even medical professionals have come under criticism recently for taking payments to promote products, including foods. That’s not to say that all promoted products are bad products, but some are. Social media is a minefield of misinformation – question everything you see on it.
The term ‘fake news’ has become part of our vocabulary in recent years. Mainstream media outlets (both broadcast and print) often communicate the same viewpoints on certain topics. That doesn’t mean to say they’re always right. Question what you’re not hearing about as well as what you are and do your own fact checking.
While I do my very best to communicate up to date information based on the latest scientific evidence, you should still question what I tell you. And that goes for other healthcare professionals too. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if something you’ve been told doesn’t make sense to you.
I recently read an article titled ‘The Four Quadrants Of Conformism‘ which I found particularly interesting. As someone who identifies as a non-conformist it’s been in my nature to question things for as long as I can remember. The longer I work in this field, the more it reinforces the importance of doing so.