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Determining truth with nutrition

Everyone has some nutrition advice to share – your next-door neighbor, the grocery clerk, or even your hairdresser. You see nutrition claims in the news, talk shows, infomercials, in magazines, and all over the internet. But how do you know what is fact and what is potentially harmful nutrition fiction? This article will provide you with key elements to look for in helping you pick out true and reliable nutrition information.

The old adage still holds true: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Does the advice or product offer a quick fix? Does the advice suggest replacing foods with supplements or eliminating whole food groups? Are unrealistic claims being used to catch your attention? If the answer is YES to many of these questions, this should set off your internal alarm.

What or Who is the source of the information? Nutrition experts will often author the information or be interviewed and have alid credentials such as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RD or RDN), Licensed Dietitian (LDN), or doctor (MD or Ph.D.). Often a reliable source of information will provide supporting research to validate the claims.

A research study and testimonials are not the same thing. A testimonial is one person’s experience. A study will have a control group for comparison, usually study a large number of people over a long period of time, have several studies producing the same results.

If you have access to the internet, you want to look for websites ending in .edu, .gov, and .org. Most of these sites will offer free evidence-based current research. The following is a list of reputable sites:

≤ Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, www.eatright.org

≤ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov

≤ US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, www.dietaryguidelines.gov

≤ Choose My Plate, www.choosemyplate.gov

≤ SNAP-ed NY, www.snapedny.org

SNAP-ed Connections, https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/

≤ National Resource Center on Nutrition & Aging, https://nutritionandaging.org

≤ United States Department of Agriculture https://www.usda.gov/topics/food-and-nutrition

We know the healthy choice is not always the easiest choice, but small changes can make a big difference. Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services Dietitian, Carey Skelton RDN is available for nutrition counseling and SNAP-ed programs. The SNAP-ed programs are FREE for those who receive or qualify for SNAP benefits. We want to help you save time, save money, and eat healthy! Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services Senior Nutrition Program also provides nutritious meals through Home Delivered Meals, Congregate Dining In Sites, as well as a Restaurant Dining Out Program throughout the county. We also sponsor several exercise programs. Please remember to contribute toward your OFAS nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable without the support of participants and community contributions. Be aware that SNAP benefits can be used toward your contribution. Call NY Connects at 716-753-4582 for more details and information.

Carey Skelton MS MPH RDN CDN is Consulting Registered Dietitian

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