Why is nutritional research necessary? Well, nowadays there are many facts about nutrition to be found on social media. Unfortunately, there is often incorrect information. This makes it difficult to know which information you can trust.
After reading this article you will know how to recognize reliable information. It also explains nutrition research.
What is Nutritional Science?
food science is the science of nutrition and health.
Knowledge from different fields is combined to conduct research. Some of these fields are physiology, behavioral sciences, and dietetics.
With nutritional research, researchers try to establish links between nutrition and health. Several factors must be taken into account. This makes nutritional research complex.
For example, differences such as genetic profile and age must be taken into account. In addition, the effect of nutrition on health is often only visible in the long term.
Types of Nutritional Studies
There are many different types of nutritional research. The choice of nutritional research depends, among other things, on the research question, the budget, and the amount of time. Each type of nutritional research has advantages and disadvantages.
Most Reliable Nutritional Research
A meta-analysis and a systematic review are the most reliable. A meta-analysis consists of several studies that have been analyzed statistically (numerically). A systematic review is multiple studies that have been discussed and compared.
Least reliable nutritional research
The least reliable study is a so-called “in vitro study”. This type of research says nothing about the effect of substances on the human body. It does give rise to further research.
In the media often a small part of an article is highlighted. The benefits are often highlighted in great detail. While no mention is made of the disadvantages.
For example, there may be a link between drinking a maximum of one and a half glasses of wine per day and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, it is omitted that alcohol increases the risk of various cancers. This behavior is called “cherry-picking.”
Cherry-picking means systematically choosing one or more nutritional studies that are beneficial in supporting the statement the media wants to make. Often the media has economic advantages in making a certain statement.
Selective use of nutritional information by media
The conclusion of a nutritional study is also regularly given its twist. Thus, the conclusion is presented as a fact. However, this is not always the case.
The results of the research are discussed in the discussion of a full article. Insight is given into the ifs and buts of the research.
What you need to know when reading nutritional information
Perhaps you could use some tips when it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff. When you read nutrition information, you can keep the points below in mind.
- Keep in mind when the research was conducted. The results may no longer be current.
- Studies on animals cannot be translated to humans.
- The larger the study group, the more reliable the study.
- Check whether the author benefits from a particular article. This can negatively affect the reliability of the article.
- The effects of food often require multiple studies. Only then can firm conclusions be drawn.
- Check whether the correct target group has been used. This can affect the results.
Examples from reliable sources
Nutritional research is often published by reliable sources. You can easily view a number of those sources online. Some reliable sources of nutritional information include:
- Dutch Association of Dieticians
- Diabetes fund
- Health Council
- Nutrition center