In a media dominated world, it’s easy for knowledge and real life facts to be mixed in with all that garbage compiled together by money making medias and the gremlins over at Daily Mail (oops, slipped out there). Yes, Debra shared two posts on Facebook this week; one of cats doing backflips off her sister in law’s sofa, and one of the miracle three-avocado-a-day diet which helps you drop half a stone in just three days! One of those posts is a lie… hint, it’s not the cat one.
Sounds oh too familiar yeah? Even on your favourite day time shows, there’s probably some new wacky headline that eating chocolate actually helps you lose weight, and you’re hooked.
Let me tell you one thing: the one downside to my career is junk media and misreporting of scientific evidence that bombards our social world. As a (training) Dietitian and Nutritionist, evidence based approaches are central to our work. We read and analyse paper after paper, whilst knowing the science and function of food like it’s our mother tongue. And it’s really, really hard to try and get the truth out there.
What you see in the news is only the tip of the iceberg. For example, say a headline states “drinking milk causes diabetes”, so you’re scared into never drinking milk again, right? You’ll send this to your friend, who’ll will send it to her friend, who’ll retweet it to her 1,293 followers, who they will all see and retweet it… See where I’m going with this? Before long, this totally crazy piece of rubbish has circulated the web and milk sales and consumption will start to drop. But where did the headline come from?
This bold statement has been created for a publicity stunt and a dramatic front page. What the media won’t tell you is that the study was from a small sample of overweight persons (already at heightened diabetes risk), where their diets were analysed to show that high sugar in the diet was associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you read closely, you’ll see many people in this study where drinking milkshake powdered drinks, which are of high sugar content. However, to mix these up, they’re made with milk, which takes no responsibility in the diabetes development at all, but it does in creating a headline to scaremonger and make money. It’s scary how things can get so far from the truth. It’s the chinese whispers version of nutrition!
This post has definitely been one that is a bit of a frustrated ramble. I understand my brain programmes differently from the non-evidence based brain. And of course, some reports are completely true and translated from a science to a social friendly lingo. But if there’s one thing you gain from this, please, don’t believe everything you see! It may not always be true…
Emma is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Associate Nutritionist based in Cheshire, England. Emma works in community healthcare and writes freelance alongside her work: topics including Dietetic life, nutrition, mental health and lifestyle. Emma also writes and photographs recipes for the platform, as well as being the author of the ‘Mummy and Me’ series for SR Nutrition. Emma’s Food Stories is PR friendly brand.