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Nutrition 3701


Lecture 3701-lecture 29


17 November 2010


Use of the internet


-lot of information on the internet- the trick is to discern what is accurate and what is not accurate


-how to tell what is accurate






                        .gc (government of canada)




                        university websites


all above have a greater tendency to give reliable information but this is not guarantee- story of alchemy at Texas A and M



however watch out for the .coms- these tend to represent those with a financial interest in the information  provided and as such the information may not be as reliable- however there are .coms that do provide accurate and timely information


So who is one to believe?

            Generally scientists- why?

                        -quality of information derived through scientific method

question leads to hypothesis leads to method leads to results leads to discussion and interpretation which leads to conclusions and ultimately more questions


-scientists recognize limitations of anecdotal evidence


-scientists who use animals in their research do not attempt to apply it to humans without testing the hypothesis directly in experiments

-scientists using a specific sector of a population do not generalize their results to the who population


-scientists are cautious and very fond of the word “may”


So who is one not to believe?

             -persons making claims that are too good to believe

                                    -simple solutions to complex problems


 -persons suggesting suspicions about the food supply

-the person or institution pushing the product or service urges distrust of current methods of medicine or suspicion of the regular food supply with profit producing alternatives for sale under the guise that people should have freedom of choice


-persons with testimonials under their arm

                     -testimonials from those who claim to have been cured  or had their life improved are easy to come by if one simply pays cash


-fake credentials-the person making the claim is titled doctor, university or the like- anyone can claim to be a doctor or Ph.D.


-persons or institutions claiming to be persecuted by the medical or nutrition establishment – claim is that these establishments are trying to keep you ill so that you will use their services


-authority not cited- the studies cited sound valid but are not referenced so it is impossible to see if the work was conducted scientifically


-motive is personal gain- person or institution making the claim stands to make a profit if it is believed


-advertisement-the claim is being made by an advertiser who is paid to make claims for the product or procedure- look for the word advertisement in small letters


-unreliable publication- the studies cited are published but in a newsletter, magazine or journal that publishes misinformation


-logic without proof-the claim seems to be based on sound reasoning but has not been scientifically tested  and shown to hold up


-the contents were written other than by the sender or some authority that you know


-something like the phrase “forward this to everyone you know” appears anywhere in the piece


-the piece states something like “this is not a hoax”


-the information appears to be shocking or something that you have never heard from legitimate sources


-the language is overly emphatic or sprinkled with capitalized words or exclamation marks


-the message has been debunked on websites such as



-there is no way of connecting to the website via e-mail-people who do not want to be investigated are not willing to allow people to try and question them- remember that unanswered e-mails are a sure sign that somebody on the other end does not like your questions


-there are no links with reliable websites-reliable organizations will almost always provide links with other similar sites because they want you to know of other experts in their area of knowledge. Caution is needed though because anyone can provide links to a reputable website without the organizations permission


-there is no listing of an editorial board listed or if an editorial board is listed then the credentials of the persons on that board are not given or the credentials are suspicious- the credentials should be easily verifiable beyond just the fact that they are listed- reputable websites encourage their credentials to be challenged  and have no problem whatsoever in allowing such a challenge


-there is no regular updating of the site or the information within the site is contradictory or poorly presented- anyone running a credible website will update it with verifiable state of the art information that does not contradict other points made on the website except where a reliable explanation is given for the contradictions



-if there is a fee to access the site then it is possible that the motive for profits does not stop with an entrance fee- this is particularly so if the entrance fee is exorbitant


-a refusal to acknowledge the credentials of credible universities, government sources such as Health Canada or Dietitians of Canada


-suggesting that their experts have credentials by being labelled with incredible names such as dietists or nutrition counselors or that their experts are world recognized


- the suggestion that investigation of other sites is a complete waste of time and may be dangerous to your health- beware of the one stop shopping campaigns