You’ve made it. You have created the motivation to search the web and find a resource dedicated to wellness. Or maybe you are sitting in front of a healthcare professional and asking questions about things YOU can do to improve your wellness.
My question to you is, how do you know your source material is accurate or based upon tested evidence? CHECK YOUR SOURCES!
Eat your vegetables! Yeah, mom and dad were right. You should have continued to listen to them, but unfortunately those years of being told no cookies unless you finish your broccoli caught up to you. Now you can have a whole bag of cookies and not eat your carrots. The beauty of adulthood.
At one point, “health cookies” were available, made of whole grains and oats. Good for you right? Wrong! This perception that eating 10 servings of grains daily will lead to health is NOT YOUR FAULT. Rather years of being told that by a bad source has made our nutritional knowledge warped.
This step in understanding your sources may be the biggest one. Let’s journey together on your path to wellness and being a skeptical reader of information.
Political leaning aside, would you trust any of the presidential candidates to make a diet plan for you. Just take a look at them and decide for yourself.
The government’s ramble through attempted nutrition began in 1916 with “Food for Young Children” and “How to Select Food.” This evolved to wheels, pyramids and now plates serving as our guide for bettering health.
Growing up I recall learning this food pyramid which instructed us to eat 3-5 servings of vegetables and 6-11 servings from the bread, rice, cereal, and pasta group. So being the naïve US that we were, Americans followed this guide toward obesity.
What is worse, is that even now my plate recommends an equal amount of grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats. Now America will get healthier right? Well, walk down the street and look around…I think you answered the question yourself.
The Doctor Is In
Okay, so if you can’t trust the government, you can trust your healthcare professional right? Well, maybe.
Personally, I can tell you the nutrition curriculum in my school was 6 hours of learning…well, essentially the food pyramid. Did this continue during my residency or fellowships? Well, 1 hour’s worth. So yes in 11 years of training I received 8 hours of nutrition advice. Yipes!
It isn’t the fault of your physician that they are not aware of nutrition. They may also be in the know, but I guarantee if you ask them how they learned about nutrition, they will tell you it was done on their own.
Also, look at the wellness of your physician. A recent Medscape survey demonstrated that 49% of physicians (less than non-physicians) are trying to lose weight.
Are your healthcare providers also overweight or do they practice what they preach? If the former is true, just double-check their information yourself.
You’ve arrived. Yes, I am certain that if the above sources are not reliable, you will turn to your friend…the internet. Just, BE CAREFUL! A recent post by nymag.com stated that 60% of the content may be factually incorrect.
Whether this study is true or not, I did find similar sources listing similar numbers. Most importantly, I went to a valid source and double-checked it.
The highest quality of the source is randomized controlled trials of systematic reviews. The best way to find these is via scientific journals, which you can search for free via PubMed.
If you search for a topic of interest, you will likely get LOTS of articles. You may want to focus on the above-mentioned categories and use the most recent articles.
Don’t have time for this. Well, websites like us and strongfigure.com analyze the data. The difference between us and bioscience is that as healthcare professionals we have the tools to interpret this information and determine its’ validity and quality. A good healthcare provider can then translate this into a normal-people talk.
Trust no one to make wellness decisions yourself. Be a knowledgeable skeptic and do your own reading. The most important part is to gain the skills for interpreting the information handed to you in a way that will determine the validity and quality of your source.