Do Your Research…Before You Buy!

You’ve probably heard someone say this before, “Do your research before you buy”, especially when making a big purchase such as a vehicle, home, electronics, etc. What about health, diet or food products?

I’ve attended several Christmas craft fairs lately, enjoying all the homemade products and fair. The one thing I noticed all the fairs had in common, was vendors selling health and diet products. I was a bit surprised and disappointed by this.

This is not the usual time of year that I would be talking about this, but I thought I should caution the public. If you find yourself at a craft fair, vendor fair or farmers’ market, use caution when considering purchasing a health or diet product. There is no harm in learning about new products that boast ways to improve your health. But do your research before you buy and use any product.

Here are some things to look for, according to the Dietitians of Canada:
1. Is the person or product promising a quick fix like fast weight-loss or a miracle cure? If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is!
2. Are they trying to sell you products such as special foods or supplements instead of teaching you how to make better food choices at home, at play, at work or while eating out?
3. Do they provide information based on personal stories rather than on facts? Although it’s nice to hear about a success story, it’s not proof that something works or is true. Just because something has worked for one person, does not mean it will work or be appropriate for everyone. Advice should be based on the best available scientific research.
4. Is their claim based on a single study or a few research studies? Were the studies with animals or humans? The stronger the study design, and the more studies available that draw the same conclusions, the stronger the evidence that something is true.
5. What are the person’s qualifications? Ask for credentials.

I’m not trying to warn you away from new experiences, I want you to be the most informed you can be before buying and trying new products. Do your research. Be your own expert. Be wary.

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!