You have a lot of influence, and your website is beautiful. That’s why I urge you, please be very careful what you are doing.
You’re giving out untested nutrition advice. Potentially thousands of people will read what you write and commit to following a style of eating and health that worked for you. People may even start following your advice, regardless of their individual needs and requirements. People may start looking to you for nutrition advice, despite the fact that you have little to no training or understanding about the science of nutrition.
This can be detrimental.
Just because a particular lifestyle and nutrition choices have worked for you doesn’t mean others should mimic these choices.
Encouraging people to follow “what worked for you” and disregard the advice of people who have studied for years and years is dangerous. People like doctors and trained professionals in nutrition and dietetics are now being overlooked and medical advice is given by anyone who can breathe.
You are setting a standard that may be unreachable for some people and discourage them from taking the small steps to health they need to take.
You’re probably quite frustrated with me right now for saying these things.
I don’t claim that “organic food is everything” and “clean eating is the only way” and that “most illnesses can be treated with diet”.
In fact, it’s probably more frustrating telling you grains aren’t evil, herbs and spices aren’t the cure to everything and people shouldn’t quit sugar (only to replace it with ‘sugar’ anyway). You may think it’s harmless to tell someone that ‘this superfood’ will ‘improve their metabolism’ or ‘fix the acid levels in their blood’, but it’s not.
Making claims about health with little to no scientific backing is very dangerous.
Whether it’s recommending paleo for babies, claiming food alone cures cancer, or something seemingly insignificant like taking herbal supplements which can be toxic to your liver just to name a few things… It’s the lack of science makes your claims misleading and inappropriate.
Frameworks like the Australian Dietary Guidelines exist as recommendations for people because they have rigorous scientific backing (over fifty thousand articles to be exact, which I talk about here).
Why would I commit four years to studying biology, nutrition, statistics, psychology, anatomy, physiology and chemistry if there was another option? I do it (along with every other dietitian) to ensure that the advice I give is correct. We’re not only dealing with science, but with individuals who have different needs.
As a blogger, you may never meet the person who is taking your advice. If you are giving information that is not backed by thorough research but based on what worked for you, it’s possible that what you’re telling people will be wrong.
So dear health and wellness bloggers of the internet, you may inspire someone to make healthier choices, but you may also do a lot of damage.
So please stop with the false claims.
If you want to encourage people to make healthy choices, tell them to eat more fruit and veg, to enjoy whole grains, lean protein and unprocessed foods, and let them eat cake too (as part of a balanced diet). Instead of scaring people away from non-organic vegetables, we need to work together to help people make practical changes (based on science) for the good of their health.
Dietitians everywhere xo