Just because it is written somewhere, does not mean it is true.
When it comes to our health there is a lot of conflicting information out there. The internet is full of opinions, some more qualified than others, there are numerous books out there from self-declared health gurus, influencers, from specialists and of course from food manufacturers. It might be that information is based on the current scientific research, which can of course change over time whenever we make a new discovery. It might also be that an information is formed in a certain way to increase sales and very often opinions are simply based on misconceptions.
How can a misconception occur?
It can, for example, occur in the demonization of certain types of food. Whereas it might not be the food itself, which is unhealthy, but the things which have been done to it [GMO, pesticides, processing, additives, transport] to create a product. Meaning it can be that a product is labelled healthy on one page and unhealthy on the other for exactly this reason, although the reason might not even be stated on either of those pages!
It can also occur when the concept of “dosage” is not clear. There might be things which are harmless or even healthy in small amounts but should be avoided on a regular level. Health is balance and not extremism.
“Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison.
The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” – Paracelsus
Here are a few tips to help you navigate through sources:
1. Is the article based on opinion or is the article based on studies? What kind of sources are being offered? What is the context of the article? Much like Wikipedia, sources such as individuals’ blogs, online forums and chat rooms can be used to fuel further research, but shouldn’t be relied upon as sources of dependable information.
2. Always try to verify its authenticity and legitimacy using other reliable sites, books or expert advice. For some questions we do not have the answers, yet and information might vary.
3. Get a bigger picture. Read opposing opinions on topics to get a broader understanding of where people are coming from. You can get an “idea” from Wikipedia for example, but the information offered on that site does in no way claim to be accurate. If you are an expert on a topic you will also find that a lot of books do not have accurate information in them! Just because it is written somewhere, does not mean it is true!
4. You can check if the website is official (domain ending edu, gov), but then – personal note – even on those websites, I have found information I would not put my signature under. This is mainly due to the fact that just because it is official does not mean, that it supports the latest standards. We might already be ahead in research and are waiting for the standard to take over.
You see that navigating through information is not easy. The best thing you can do is get a bigger picture in order to make your own informed decisions and to ask experts for advice.