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Diets on the Internet: You Might as Well Make Them Up

August 1, 2014 975

Contradictory diet advice is everywhere – Katy Perry’s acupunctured fish, Matthew McConaughey and the caveman diet, Gwyneth Paltrow’s macrobiotic meals. It seems celebrities feel obliged to offer their opinions on what we should eat, leaving sound diet advice lost in bogus claims.

tape measure for news pieceFrustrated by fad diets,  young scientists are calling on everyone to ask for evidence behind diets. To highlight why this is so important they are challenging people to spot completely made up diets in an online quiz. It’s not as easy as you might think. The researchers also looked at the evidence behind 10 diets and came to the conclusion that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To help people sort the beneficial from the bogus when they come across diet claims in the future, the researchers have four things to look out for:

  • Immune boosting. You can’t and you don’t need to.
  • Detox. It’s a marketing myth – our body does it without pricey potions and detox diets4.
  • Superfood. There is no such thing, just foods that are high in some nutrients.
  • Cleansing. You shouldn’t be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair.

Sense About Science is a registered charity founded in 2002, to equip people to make sense of science and evidence. We help the public and policy makers in their use of scientific evidence. We tackle misconceptions and respond to public questions on scientific and medical issues. With over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs, we work in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. Through award-winning public campaigns, we share the tools of scientific thinking and scrutiny. Our activities and publications are used and shaped by community groups, policy makers, civic bodies, patient organisations, information services, writers, publishers, educators and health services.

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