Dietitians and consumers alike are constantly frustrated by the amount of information in the mainstream media and even the medical community about nutrition that is not evidence-based. Because Registered Dietitians are trained in providing evidence-based information backed by peer-reviewed research, it’s frustrating to see people seeking good information about health instead finding nutrition information that is at best untrue and at worst, harmful to their health.
Fad diets are often promoted by celebrities, fitness experts, and even doctors, many of whom do not have specialized knowledge in the science of nutrition. These diets often come with elegantly written “science” backing them, that sadly is not based in evidence and ignores many of the dangers to the approach, the limited long-term effectiveness, and/or the limited duration of time most people are able to sustain the diet.
In days past, dietitians gained the reputation of “food police,” only telling you what NOT to eat. In fact, a colleague of mine recently mentioned when people see her eating at a party they’re surprised and look at her like “you’re EATING?” Most of us now consider ourselves advocates for food and make sure to provide plenty of information on what TO eat for optimal health, not just what to avoid. By the same token, I think for this topic it’s important that I not just bash fad diets, but that I provide you with good resources to find sound, evidenced based nutrition information.
The following are some of my favorite nutrition resources. These are places to go to search for good information on whatever topic you’re looking for. Go straight to these sites for quality info rather than doing your standard Google search and subjecting yourself to whichever diet sites win the race of internet marketing and end up on your first search page:
Evidence-based nutrition information
This is a leading source for trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information. Features a symptom checker, drugs and medications A-Z, health topics A-Z, and a doctor directory.
This is run by WebMD and brings even more great information on different medical conditions, nutrition information, and medication. Features a medical term dictionary and even info on pet health!
Information on healthy diets, healthy cooking, menus, and grocery shopping. It even has expert answers on a variety of different nutrition topics and questions, and includes an expert nutrition blog.
This site includes a BMI calculator and information on achieving a healthy weight. Includes a menu planner, recipes, shopping tips, a food/activity diary, and more.
This is the website for the largest organization of dietitians and nutrition professionals. It has plenty of trustworthy, science-based information for the public as well. Click on the “public” tab for information on healthy weight loss, disease prevention, and many other nutrition topics.
Provides independent test results, reviews, ratings and comparisons of vitamins, supplements, and herb and nutrition products. The place to go for trustworthy information on supplements.
Here is the link to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were most recently updated on 2010. These guidelines are published every 5 years since 1980 by the Department for Health and Human Services (HHS), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
This is the Center for Disease Control website. You can easily search topics on health and nutrition and find outstanding information and research.
This easy to use and interactive site helps you build your own meal plan, track your foods, and provides useful tools to helping you achieve a healthy weight with a balanced diet. The Food-A-Pedia feature allows you to input foods and get nutrition information on what you’ve eaten, and the food and physical activity trackers also help you keep track of your energy balance.
Popular nutrition tools
Free online calorie counter and diet plan. You can track your caloric intake quickly and easily for healthy weight loss. Includes mobile apps and nutrition facts for over 1000000 foods.
Healthy and delicious frozen meals created for people who want and need to eat healthfully. Includes meals for people with diabetes and other diet-specific ailments like gluten free and low sodium. Order online or find physical stores.
The largest online diet and healthy living community. Provides information and tools on nutrition, recipes, and more.
Helps you create and organize your grocery lists easily. With a mobile app that includes a database of millions of items, and includes barcode scanning, integrated coupons, product details, and sorting by isle.
Online fitness classes
I am a hug proponent of fitness videos. If you can’t get to the gym, can’t afford exercise equipment, or have physical limitations that prevent you from doing certain activities, there’s still a fitness video for you. It couldn’t be cheaper or more convenient. That combined with my love of the convenience of online shopping, it’s easy to see why I love the following sites for providing fitness videos online:
Check out one or more of these sites or services and share your experience in the comments section below. To get blog posts as I post them via email, sign up below: