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100% Fad Free Continued

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Usually my midweek post is Recipe of the Week. But I felt like "A Day in Food Life of Andrea" from Monday was sort of related cuz it was all about food and meals. I hope you got something out of one of my food days and maybe picked up a tip or two.

With that being said, I thought I'd pick-up where I left off last week when we jumped on the 100% Fad Free band wagon in honor of National Nutrition Month®. I'd like to share with you some more tips the American Dietetic Association has provided to help us steer clear of bogus diets, supplements, nutrition products, services, treatments or devices. Again, our teens are particularly vulnerable, I urge you to share this with them.

When you find yourself being tempted to buy a certain product, subscribe to some new diet, or try a new treatment etc., ask yourself the following questions first. If your answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” it likely means the claim is too good to be true and you should be suspicious.

1. Does it use scare tactics, emotional appeals or a money-back guarantee, rather than proven results?
Playing on emotion, misinformation or fear is common among nonscientific pseudo-experts. Watch for terms like “breakthrough” and “miraculous” or claims that certain foods or additives are “poisons.”

2. Does it use non-scientific terms like “revitalize,” “detoxify” or “balance your body with nature”?
Does it claim to increase stamina, stimulate your body’s healing power or boost your energy level? Words ike “detoxify” are not scientific terms. And no product can increase your stamina, strength or immunity.

3. Does it offer “proof” based on personal testimonials rather than sound science?
Nutrition is a science, based on fact, not emotional belief. Be skeptical of case histories and testimonials if they are the only proof a product works.

4. Does it advise supplements as “insurance” for everyone or recommend very large doses of nutrients?
Not everyone needs a supplement; in fact, taking too much may be harmful. Most healthy people can obtain all the nutrients they need from food. For some people, supplementation is warranted, but that is an individual decision that should be made during consultations with your health-care provider.

5. Does it claim it can “treat,” “cure,” or “prevent” all sorts of health problems, from arthritis to cancer to sexual impotence?
No product or regimen can treat all that ails you. Even as a credible treatment strategy – such as for diabetes and some forms of cancer – nutrition therapy is typically a part of your overall health care, not the only factor.

6. Does it make unrealistic claims such as “reverse the aging process,” “cure disease” or “quick, easy approach”?
There are no “magic bullets” when it comes to health. Most health-promoting approaches take some effort. Quackery thrives because people want simple cures and magic ways to change what is imperfect.

7. Does it blame the food supply as the source of health or behavior problems, belittle government regulations or discredit the advice of recognized medical authorities?
Quacks often criticize these sources, as well as claiming the traditional health community is suppressing their work. They call for “freedom of choice” and promote their unproven techniques as viable alternatives to proven methods. The fact is, you will find choices among well-researched methods.

8. Does it claim its “natural” benefits surpass those of “synthetic” or artificial products?
There is nothing magical or automatically safe about “natural.” From the standpoint of science, the chemical structures of natural and synthetic dietary supplements are essentially the same and the body uses them in the same manner (with the exception of vitamin E; “natural” is more potent than the synthetic form). Even substances found in nature can have natural toxins with potent, drug-like effects.

9. Does it mention a “secret formula” or fail to list ingredients or possible side effects on the label?
By law, medications must carry product information on their packaging, including ingredients, use, dosage, warnings, precautions and what to do if reactions occur. Products sold through quackery may not report this information, including potential side effects and dangers.

Don't be fooled!

(Many thanx to the American Dietetic Association for providing this material)
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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