It's a challenge knowing what nutrition news to believe on the internet. So, if you have a burning nutrition or health question you can now find reliable answers using my evidence-based search engine. Check it out below.
The internet is a cesspool of god awful nutrition advice. Some of this terrible information is delivered in such a way that makes it seem legitimate and can fool even the most intelligent among us. I created this guide as a resource to help cut through the hype you see in media headlines and on your Facebook feed. If you see an article/book/talk/product from one of the sources below please proceed with caution as it may be a load of nonsensical, pseudoscientific rubbish (especially if it's from The Food Babe).
To land a spot on this list, a significant portion of the dietary information provided by the source must be scientifically erroneous or misleading. Some of these sources fall into the category of "quacks, frauds, and charlatans" and while others are in the "questionable" category. The common pitfalls I've seen in these sources can be grouped into four general categories:
- Cherry-picking sources that agree with their beliefs while ignoring those that don't.
- Not interpreting data within the full context of what is known about a topic.
- Over-extrapolating study results (like saying that findings from an animal trial apply directly to humans).
- Citing invalid or uncredible sources (using anecdotes as hard evidence as opposed to peer-reviewed literature).
Overall, the theme of this list are people who have misconstrued nutritional science. In my opinion, the sources below meet one or more of these criteria.
Some of you are bound to see people on here that you consider to be good resources or may even like. Their appearance on this list does not mean everything they have ever published is erroneous, simply that they have also published too much unsound material to be considered a reliable nutrition information source as defined in my Good Nutrition Sources post.
How to Fact Check a Source
By no means is this a comprehensive list as new dubious sources pop up frequently. If you are attempting to determine the reliability of a source that is not listed, here are a few options to try. First, head on over to QuackWatch.com. If they are on that site, it’s probably best to steer clear. A second option is to take the name of the person in question and search it in google (or on NutriSearch) followed by one of these phrases/words: “debunked”, “critique”, “fact check”, “quack”, or “fraud”. You may be able to get some useful articles using this second method. Don’t be afraid to try and find out if they have any reliable credentials as well. Do they have relevant degrees or respected certifications in the field of nutrition such as those listed on the Good Sources page? If not, you may want to view what they’re saying with some skepticism until you can confirm it with a reliable source.
For a list of reliable nutrition sources you can use, head on over to this page or try using the NutriSearch.info search engine. This list is fluid and will be edited as new unreliable sources emerge. If you have one you think should be on here, drop it in the comments section.
Note: I don’t link directly to any of these sources (because why would I?). Instead, I’ve linked to resources demonstrating why they are on this list.
Full disclosure: I do research for Examine.com, which is not affiliated with this blog in any way.
Abel James a.k.a The Fat-Burning Man
Andreas Eenfeldt a.k.a The Diet Doctor
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig / The Whole30 / Whole9Life / Healthy Mama, Happy Baby
Dana McDonald a.k.a The Rebel Dietitian
Erin Elizabeth a.k.a The Health Nut
Katie Tietje a.k.a Modern Alternative Mama
Katie Wells a.k.a Wellness Mama
Mike Adams a.k.a The Health Ranger
Sally Fallon Morell
The Kardashians (All of them)
Tom Naughton a.k.a Fat Head
Vani Hari a.k.a The Food Babe
RayPeat.com and RayPeatForum.com
WholeMamasClub.com (formally Healthy Mama, Happy Baby)
If there’s one thing gurus love to do, it’s to write multiple diet and health books. Far too many to list here - so please don’t waste your money on diet books written by the people listed above. Here is a brief list of popular diet books to skip.
21 Day Sugar Detox - Diane Sanfilippo
Always Hungry - David Ludwig
Cholesterol Clarity - Jimmy Moore
Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution - Robert Atkins
Dr. Kellyann's Bone Broth Diet - Kellyann Petrucci
Eat Bacon, Don't Jog: Get Strong, Get Lean, No Bullshit - Grant Petersen
Eat Right for Your Type - Peter D'Adamo
Fat Chance - Robert Lustig
Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes
Grain Brain - David Perlmutter
I Quit Sugar for Life - Sarah Wilson
It Starts With Food - Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
Keto Clarity - Jimmy Moore
Knockout - Suzanne Somers (and all of her other books)
Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution - Andreas Eenfeldt
Optimum Healing - Tom O'Bryan
The 4-Hour Body - Tim Ferriss
The Big Fat Surprise - Nina Teicholz
The Bulletproof Diet - Dave Asprey
The Calorie Myth - Jonathan Bailor
The Case Against Sugar - Gary Taubes (another critique here)
The China Study - T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
The Food Babe Way - Vani Hari
The Genotype Diet - Peter D'Adamo
The Obesity Code - Jason Fung
The Optimum Nutrition Bible - Patrick Holford
The Paleo Solution - Robb Wolf
The Plant Paradox - Steven R. Gundry
The Real Meal Revolution - Tim Noakes and Jonno Proudfoot
The Whole30 - Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
The Wild Diet - Abel James
The ZONE Diet - Barry Sears
Wheat Belly - William Davis
Why We Get Fat - Gary Taubes
Forks Over Knives
Genetically Modified Food: Panacea or Poison
Hungry For Change
Perfect Human Diet
Seeds of Deception
Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World
That Sugar Film
The Beautiful Truth
The Big Fat Fix
The Future of Food
The Gerson Miracle
The World According to Monsanto
We Love Paleo
What The Health
Environmental Working Group
Institute for Functional Medicine
Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Institute for Responsible Nutrition
Institute of Responsible Technology
PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals. JK JK - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
Weston A. Price Foundation
Suspect Credentials and Universities
A list of credentials and universities (often unaccredited) that do not properly teach nutritional science or prepare their graduates to work in the field of nutrition.
American Board of Holistic Medicine (ABIHM)
American Nutrimedical Association
Certified Clinical Nutritionists (CCN), Certified Nutritionists (CN), or Certified Nutrition Consultants (CNC) from The Society of Certified Nutritionists (SCN)
Certified Nutritional Consultant (CNC) from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants
Certified Gluten Practitioner
Certified Nutritionist (CN) from the American Health Science University
Clayton College of Natural Health
Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB)
Columbia Pacific University (CPU)
Doctor of Chiropractic (DC)
National Academy of Research Biochemists
Naturopathic Doctor (ND)
Nutritionist (not to be confused with the legitimate credential of RDN – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)
Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
Whole30 Certified Coach
None (so far)
Any from the above-mentioned websites/organizations/people
Because the titles "nutritionist" and "nutrition consultant" are unregulated in most states, they have been adopted by many individuals who lack recognized credentials and are unqualified. In addition, a small percentage of licensed practitioners are engaged in unscientific nutrition practices. The best way to avoid bad nutrition advice is to identify and avoid those who give it. I recommend steering clear of:
- Anyone who says that everyone needs vitamin supplements to be sure they get enough. Most people can get all the vitamins they need by eating sensibly.
- Anyone who suggests that most diseases are caused by faulty nutrition. Although some diseases are diet-related, most are not.
- Anyone who suggests that large doses of vitamins are effective against a large number of diseases and conditions. That is simply untrue.
- Anyone who suggests hair analysis as a basis for determining the body's nutritional state or for recommending vitamins and minerals. Hair analysis is not reliable for this purpose.
- Anyone who claims that a wide variety of symptoms and diseases are caused by "hidden food allergies"
- Anyone who uses a computer-scored "nutrient deficiency test" as the basis for prescribing vitamins. There are valid ways that computers can be used for dietary analysis. But those used for recommending vitamins are programmed to recommend them for everyone.
- Be wary of those who sells vitamins in their offices. Unscientific practitioners often do sell unneeded supplements — usually at a considerable profit.