“Sugar is as Addictive as Cocaine”
“Cheers! Drink Beer and Live Longer!”
”Junk Food in Pregnancy Leaves Children Fat for Life”
“Stop Eating So Many Carbs — They Make You Fat”
“A Scary New Reason to Avoid Splenda”
These are ACTUAL nutrition headlines I saw online recently. Seriously, Google them all and you’ll see them for yourself.
Even scarier – the “science” mentioned in the articles does not prove any of these headlines to be true – no, not even the one about drinking beer to live longer.
WHY ARE NUTRITION HEADLINES SO CONFUSING?
1) Click Bait:
The writers want us to click and read their articles, so headlines are often written to be fear-based, or to sound too good to be true, which will urge us to click.
And, yes, I used the beer headline for a little bit of “clickbait” in this email (haha). See how reading that in the subject line of this email may have urged you to open this message and see what it was all about – that’s how the news headlines work, too 😉
2) The Articles Are Based on Single Studies, Which Have Not Been Peer-Reviewed Yet:
I’ve talked about this briefly in other Insider’s emails, but peer review is a quality-control system that requires all new scientific discoveries or ideas be tested and scrutinized by other experts in their field before they become widely accepted as fact.
Unfortunately, when it comes to nutrition and fad diets, many times we only hear about single-studies that have not been verified by peers in the field yet. This can make nutrition seem confusing, and like we hear conflicting information all the time.
This is also why you haven’t heard beer now officially declared as a “health food” by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as other reputable nutrition agencies.
HOW TO DETERMINE THE TRUTH
Look at the Source:
Is it from a news organization trying to generate web traffic or from a blog post or YouTube video looking to profit off this news? Be skeptical if you don’t know that the source values verified facts.
Make Sure You Aren’t Jumping On the Bandwagon Because It’s What You Want to Hear:
We all may want the article about how drinking beer can make you live longer to be true. Make sure we aren’t jumping on board with the news because it’s something we already agree already with (confirmation bias), or because it’s what we “want to hear.”
SO, IF BEER WON’T HELP YOU LIVE LONGER, WHAT ACTUALLY WORKS FOR GOOD HEALTH?
To achieve good health with your nutrition choices focus on a diet of mainly nutrient-dense foods, such as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats. And, yes, research does show you can even include satisfying treats, in moderation. This makes our nutrition sustainable for life.
I know these facts may not sound as exciting as some of the latest headlines, but they work.
And remember what your mom always said when it comes to these headlines, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”