Nutrition | Science | Critical Thinking

3 Things to Spot in Nutrition Articles: Critical Thinking for Foodies (Part 2)

We can learn from the mistakes of others. So, here are three mistakes made by “nutritionists” online.

Enzo M. Battista-Dowds PhD. RD.
ILLUMINATION-Curated
7 min readJun 5, 2020

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Instagram? Facebook? Twitter? Maybe Snapchat? Whatever your preference, social-media can help us form networks, and for me, it’s led to real-world relationships. But it’s come at a price — the countless cries from nutrition quacks, trolls, and diet tribes…

Yes, nutrition science has limitations, like all the sciences — and yes, nutrition science can be complicated and underfunded.

But no! These issues do not give diet quacks the excuse to exaggerate and outwardly misinform us.

In response, here we follow up from the first article, and discuss three more ways to help distinguish between a quack and a legitimate expert. So, let’s get our critical thinking caps on and delve in.

1. They reference incorrectly or not at all.

Medium enables authors to include hyperlinks of source materials — it’s simple but essential.

For me, an article with no citations, can feel empty and barren, as if it has no value. Each day we are inundated by dietary health claims, often without references to a study’s origin. The basis for omitting sources might be to purposely mislead a reader. Maybe no research exists to support their claim? Or, a citation is excluded out of ignorance?

Whatever the motivation, no referencing is a clear sign of a quack.

You’ve probably noticed a lot of poor referencing while reading articles online. There are many scientific citation styles, but that is not the focus here.

I’m talking about simple mistakes quacks often make when citing studies. Putting aside the facts of the Mediterranean diet for a moment. Imagine an author wants to sell us on the Med-diet by stating it can increase the human lifespan.

A quack frequently cites news articles describing a study rather than reference the original research.

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Enzo M. Battista-Dowds PhD. RD.
ILLUMINATION-Curated

UK Registered Dietitian | Behavioural & Implementation Science PhD | Interests: Food & nutrition; behavioural science & psychology; tech & gamification; LIFE :)