With so many health and fitness websites that are being added to the World Wide Web, it comes as no surprise that a lot of people fall prey on nutrition claims, most of which are not true. This is especially legitimate when it comes to weight loss.
According to Google trends, the term “weight loss” has been entered in their search engines 100% more than last year during January 1 to 7, 2017. Of course, the result is consistent with the fact that most of us want to shed all those pounds after a week or two of merrymaking brought by the holidays.
Unfortunately, because of the dire need of people around the world to find that “silver bullet” which would bring them to their ideal weight, others take advantage and bring in so many weight loss plans that have little to no long-term benefits. Or worse, it can bring dangerous side effects.
So how would you know if a particular health or nutrition claim is valid and legitimate? First, ask these three questions:
Where did the info come from?
Most of us would prefer using the Internet as a way to seek answers for our endless stream of questions. However, not all websites are accredited to give out health information. Dissemination is a bit lax, so you must take it upon yourself to see if a specific site you are visiting is someone you can prescribe and believe.
This is where the “About Us” section comes in. Most sites put their company logo, partners, editors, and other related stuff on this page so that their audience can get to know them better. You can also see if they have biases towards a health claim which could be an excellent segue to promote a product or service.
Finally, you can view the credentials of most of their contributors and editors. For so-called health and fitness sites, see if they have a licensed physician, trainer, or a dietitian within their circle. Otherwise, close the tab.
Is it backed up by well-founded research?
Most diets and supplements utilize testimonials and anecdotes from different people who tried them as a way to convince others to adopt the lifestyle. Sadly, personal testimonies is not a good gauge in testing the efficacy of these claims because other factors involved in weight loss (medical history, exercise regimen, metabolic rate) is not controlled or considered. What may work for him or her may not exactly work the same with you because you both have different mechanisms and genetic makeup.
On the other hand, studies and research done by reputable institutions make use of different methods and consider other factors aside from the “calories in, calories out” weight loss formula. From the assessment of the participants (the more random, the better), the methodology, to the relevance of the research, each study is tested, debated, and assessed by tens or hundreds of experts for many years before it is released to the general public. Thus, you can be sure that the health claim that each research confirm is true.
Does it promise outrageously absurd results?
We have all heard of this statement: “Lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks!” or varieties of it countless times. Companies and “nutrition experts” would do and promise basically everything just to entice people to try out their new product or service. And because some people are downright desperate to lose weight, they bite into these services, hoping that they would deliver. Most of the time, it doesn’t.
In truth, the body can only handle losing 1-2 pounds per week. Beyond that and it would force you to put all the lost weight back on, sometimes more than what you had before. So once you see statements like that, do not buy into it.
While you, as a consumer, have little power to control the verification procedures done on the Internet when it comes to info dissemination, you can control what you ingest virtually. The key is to be critical in every article, claim, or statement you see on the Web, especially when it comes to your health. By asking these questions, you can spare yourself from all the emotional and financial heartbreak that investing on the wrong products can bring.