You might have noticed in some of my Facebook posts that I include references to research papers when talking about different dietary or lifestyle recommendations. Why do I do this and why does it matter?

It comes down to two things:

  • Being able to make SAFE recommendations
  • Being able to make LEGITIMATE claims

Dr Google has become a go-to for many people when looking up symptoms and remedies for different ailments. There’s an overwhelming amount of dietary and nutritional information out there on the internet – some of it good, some of it not so good and some of it is seriously dangerous or unsafe!

When people have exhausted their options with conventional medicine and are still suffering from various health issues, often chronic and debilitating, it’s common to turn to less conventional remedies. And I’m not against this per se. However, there are people out there that make health claims based on unsafe practices which have no evidence behind them whatsoever and are basically just preying on the vulnerable – taking large amounts of money off clients and making unrealistic promises to people, with little to show for their “investment” afterwards. And the worst-case scenario is that they feel even worse than they did before they tried the remedy, diet or supplement.

 

“I am trained as an evidence-based practitioner”

 

I am trained as an evidence-based practitioner. Therefore, the recommendations that I make in nutritional therapy are based on evidence, that is – research. I look for primary or secondary research studies that back up the health claims and recommendations I’m making. I am also trained to critically assess research papers so that I can distinguish a good study from a bad study because even research papers that get published can be based on a poor-quality study methodology. That’s right – even published research papers have to be carefully assessed!

Unfortunately, there isn’t as much funding for large-scale studies on nutrition and lifestyle medicine (unlike the studies that are funded by large pharmaceutical companies), therefore it can be pretty difficult to find good evidence for a recommendation. Nonetheless, I always look for the evidence and assess the safety of a recommendation first.

So, to sum up – you won’t find me recommending any extreme detoxes, juice cleanses, mega-doses of nutrients, coffee enemas (yes, you read that correctly!), the blood group diet or a fruitarian diet! There are many other examples! Even the popular ketogenic diet and fasting-mimicking-diet, which do have evidence behind them, should ideally be done with the support of a fully qualified healthcare practitioner who has experience in implementing these diets SAFELY.

 

My takeaway for you today is: think critically, question what you read and always ask yourself “where is the evidence for this?

 

 

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