Holy Crap!

One of the biggest challenges I find in my health journey is sifting thought the mass of and often contradictory information about this supplement, diet, study, and/or product.  Some have these haunting titles designed to reel you in only to discover that there is an obvious agenda and it has nothing to do with what you thought.  As someone who struggles with a life altering condition (mine is cancer, but for you it could be congestive heart failure, metabolic syndrome, Lyme’s etc.) it is both difficult and anxiety provoking to conduct research and let alone figure out what to act on and what to ignore.  I have some medical training but what about the average citizen.  Here are my considerations

One thing an article must have before I will consider giving it my full attention is that it has to list its sources for its claims.  It angers me to see someone post something about dramatic weight loss in 5 days, or a cure for this disease or that ailment and yet the supportive data is not there.  For instance I recently saw/read on a popular raw vegan site a color photo with the words “high protein intake is directly linked with dramatically higher risks of cancer”.  As a cancer patient and health coach I had an interest in this topic. How was this determined, what is considered high protein and did it go a step further – what was considered the correct amount? I backtracked to their website in hopes to find the source and additional information but wasn’t successful.

So I then asked the Facebook poster to please cite her sources. Her reply was how it just “made sense. No one gains weight from eating fruit” but that was the extent.  She did not answer my question. There are many vulnerable people looking hopefully for answers and this is what they get!  I kept researching and eventually located the article she drew her information from but it I think she misinterpreted the facts a little. Wouldn’t you?

There is a decent article published in Consumer Reports on how to manage health information and I highly suggest you read it.  If you don’t have time here are the main points*.

  • Understand whether health studies are based on trustworthy research. Double blind trial is more powerful than observational studies.
  • See what you have in common with the study subjects.   Gender, race, age, health, family history, genetics, and lifestyle habits similar? If not, results may not be applicable.
  • Check whether it’s been published in a respected journal.
  • Follow the money.  Who sponsored the study?  There has been some research to suggest that source of funding can affect research outcomes.
  • Be wary of breakthroughs.  Wait a while before buying a brand new procedure/drug/device so they can work out the kinks.  (Learned that recently with the new windows ten but thats another story (LOL)
  •  Ask your Doctor and your health coach what he/she thinks.

So don’t always believe what you read. Ask questions, apply the considerations above and do your research. 

*Source: Consumer Reports, Author Katherine Winters