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Evaluating Online Nutrition Information

young man with hand on chin, looking at computer screen with thoughtful look on faceThere are plenty of sources of nutrition information online - but how can you tell which ones to trust?  The following guidelines will get you started with learning how to evaluate whether information you find on the Web is reliable.

It is possible to get good information and ideas on all sorts of sites, but you will want to use extra caution if someone is trying to sell you something or does not have highly regarded credentials.  People can be passionate about their food and their diet, but that does not mean that they necessarily have the background and knowledge you are looking for.


If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is!



Look for signs of bias.  Often, industry funding is necessary to conduct research or develop a website.  That in itself does not mean the information is flawed.  But it is a clue that should encourage you to investigate other sources on the same topic to see if there is another viewpoint. 



Now that you have the basics, want to find out more about evaluating online health information?  Please visit the following sites:



MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing (National Institutes of Health)

Complete Food and Nutrition Guide (Fourth Edition, 2012):  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association)


This article originally appeared in Chow Line (05/17/13), a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission

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Last Reviewed: Jul 19, 2013

Daniel T. Remley, MSPH, PhD Daniel T. Remley, MSPH, PhD
Assistant Professor
Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, & Wellness
OSU Extension
College of Food, Agricultural, & Environmental Science
The Ohio State University