3. Sound too good to be true? It probably is. Do you ever pay attention to the end of a diet ad when you hear one on the radio? The bulk of the ad will sound wonderful and convincing, making claims about effortless weight loss without deprivation. At the end of the ad in really fast chatter, you’ll hear the disclaimers about side effects and the requirement to exercise daily and avoid overeating in order to see the results described in the ad. There is not a product or program that can replace regular exercise and healthy eating habits, so when something sounds easy AND life-changing, it’s time to take a second look.
4. Glamorized ingredients. So many nutrients and products have had a turn in the spotlight, but are now forgotten. Slim Fast, cabbage soup, Vitamin E, grapefruit and acai berries would all have a star on Hollywood boulevard. But when something is evidence-based and legit, it doesn’t trend. Legitimate nutrition advice doesn’t come and go. Here is an example of what often happens: a study is done in the Netherlands looking at blueberries and cholesterol. At the end of the study, those who ate blueberries and a small but noticeable decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol) and an increase in HDL (good cholesterol) lost weight. The media catches wind of this and, faster than you can say “exaggerated claims”, blueberries have gone viral and are now a super-nutrient (never mind that the subjects in the study also added 30 minutes cardio per day to their previously sedentary lifestyle).
5. Bogus advice, bogus vocabulary – but not always. Miraculous, groundbreaking, doctor-recommended, secret formula, detox, metabolism-boosting. Legitimate, scientific sources do not use these words but salespeople who call themselves nutritionists or health coaches do, so if you hear language that sounds bogus or too sensational, run the other way.
Also beware of online articles that seem to be innocently conveying the truth. The headline “Health Benefits of 6 Easy-to-find Spices” doesn’t contain any obviously bogus lingo, so will require more investigative work and a critical eye.
Healthy eating ought not be based on single products or nutrients without regard for the context that product or nutrient is consumed in. It’s bigger (and more boring, frankly) than that – if are you getting whole grains, calcium, protein, heart-healthy fats, and color (fruits & veggies) each day, you’re very likely doing great and can choose to avoid jumping on any food bandwagons.