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Beware of nutrition fads

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Nutrition fads: they're everywhere. You might see ads for miracle nutrition products in men's and women's magazines or on television. Celebrities discuss their diets on talk shows, "infomercials" and Web sites. What should you believe?

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Here are some questions to ask about advertisements and articles on nutrition and diets during March, which is National Nutrition Month.

Each "Yes" answer raises a red flag. Dig a little deeper and look a little further when the flags go up!

Does the ad, article or person promise a quick fix?

Give yourself some time to make changes in your diet. Take small steps toward better health.

Do they cast doubts about current food and health recommendations?

Recommendations change as more research is done. Stay tuned for the latest information by visiting www.mypyramid.gov or contacting your local ex-tension office.

Does the product sound too good to be true?

Be especially careful when a product is advertised as a "cure" for serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease or arthritis. Follow your medical provider's advice.

Do they make a recommendation based on a single study?

One study may not prove anything, but several studies can uncover the truth.

Do they tell you not to trust scientific organizations?

Questioning things is OK; however, ask yourself if the advertiser is more interested in your health or your money.

Do they provide lists of bad and good foods?

Aim for variety in your diet. Don't cut out foods or food groups. What you don't eat can affect your health, too.

Do they get their information from nonscientific sources?

Some ads use testimonials from people who say they feel better or look better. Sometimes these stories are true, but sometimes the people in the ads are paid actors.

As the saying goes: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.

For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, FNP Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 First St. E., Jamestown, ND. Morehouse may be reached at 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu.edu.

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