Nutrition Articles

8 Tips for Deciphering Diet Claims

Separate the Food Fact from the Fiction

By Robert J. Davis, PhD         
Page 1 of 2
Though food is supposed to be one of life's simple pleasures, few things cause more angst and confusion. It's no wonder why. We're constantly being told which foods we should eat to be healthy, which diets we should follow to be skinny, which preparation methods we should use to be safe, and which chemicals and contaminants in food we should shun to avoid illness. It's enough to give anyone indigestion.

If you're confused about what to believe, you've come to the right place. In "Coffee Is Good for You," I'll give you the bottom line on an array of popular diet and nutrition claims in a quick, easily digestible way. Research about diet and health rarely yields the equivalent of DNA evidence, which provides incontrovertible proof. All types of studies come with caveats. However, if interpreted properly, a body of research can allow us to make sound judgments about how believable a claim is.

Trying to make sense of the seemingly endless stream of food and nutrition claims can be overwhelming. Remembering the following 8 rules will make the task easier and allow you to stay focused on what’s really important:
Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Robert J. Davis Robert J. Davis
Robert J. Davis, PhD, is an award-winning health journalist whose work has appeared on CNN, PBS, WebMD, and in the Wall Street Journal. He is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of "Coffee Is Good for You" and "The Healthy Skeptic". He also teaches at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health.

Member Comments

    Good article, does the author realize that this web site often has long winded articles featuring "Super Foods" and "Toxic foods", now and then? There seem to be a lot of young people asking questions on the message board Forums that still believe there is some big "Secret" weight loss "thing" out there, though. - 11/23/2014 2:14:43 PM
  • Amen! This is good old fashion common sense-- eat more of the good stuff and less of the bad. Trying to restrict certain foods just doesn't work on its own long-term. - 5/16/2013 11:53:13 AM
  • Article was ok. No Flamingkitten mines said 8. - 5/16/2013 7:30:58 AM
  • Great read - 8/25/2012 9:16:47 PM
  • TRACYM59
    Reading comments, I find it interesting that the warning about fad diets and pop-nutrition misinformation is still clutched as if they were universal truths. Exampe: the notion that there are "no healthy grains" is a recent entry into food mythology. Evidence that humans have been eating grains, including, goes far back in history, including paleolithic man. Grains contain many nutrients that are required for a healthy diet. Like many other food myths, the grains are bad mythology will become another faded memory in pop culture. - 7/2/2012 9:06:33 AM
  • Did anyone else notice that the title says 10 but only 8 points are listed? - 3/6/2012 2:29:42 PM
  • Some good points and some mis-information, as usual. There is no such thing as a 'healthy grain'. - 3/6/2012 11:15:55 AM
  • Even health claims from the FDA shouldn't be taken too seriously. Their executives aren't nutrtionists, they're business execs who used to work for corporations like Monsanto and ConAgra and Pfizer (and still get major income from their shares of stock in said companies). I don't particularly trust them to tell me what's good for my body. - 3/6/2012 8:27:01 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by June 15! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.