Reading is one of my favorite things to do... Whether it's for my own personal enjoyment, something educational, or new articles on my favorite blogs. I love how it makes me think and question things, and how it drives me to continuously want to read and learn more. I keep a "book list" which has all the books I want to read on it... a lot of which are health/nutrition-based with a few that are just for fun!
Most of us have probably seen the commercial with the message that not everything you read on the internet is true... Well believe it or not, not everything you read on the internet is true! Especially when it comes to health and nutrition advice. People make all sorts of claims about these trends and crazy fad diets that they swear work... and I can promise you that they don't. I've done so much research on different diets and can tell you why a specific one does/doesn't work. Anyone can read a book or an article about a diet they want to try/are interested in, try it for a while, start telling people about it and promoting it, and call themselves a "nutritionist." However, they CANNOT call themselves an RD (registered dietitian) or RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist). The difference between a "nutritionist" and RDs/RDNs - they go through extensive education and training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)... This includes a B.S. in Dietetics from an accredited program, an internship program (similar to a residency to become a doctor), and a registration exam. RDNs are nutrition experts and practice is based on evidence-based research... meaning we actually know what we are talking about! I do not claim myself to be an RDN (YET!) because I am still in the process of applying for my internship... which will be done in February!
Why am I saying all this?! I recently had a patient at work tell me that she read an article that said BMI is the absolute best tool to use during weight loss. I don't know where she read this article or where it came from, but I completely disagree. I think BMI is an okay-ish screening tool... certainly not great for keeping track of progress during weight loss! It doesn't take into consideration the persons age or gender, and it also doesn't separate fat mass from lean muscle mass. In my opinion, the most accurate way of keeping track of progress is using a body composition scale/machine. Many gyms and fitness/health stores have them (I know GNC has them). It's something you have to pay for, but not something you have to check everyday... Maybe check it once a month or once every couple of months.
I also have seen blogs and people claiming to be nutritionist posting things that are not necessarily wrong, but they can't necessarily explain why something is the way it is or why certain foods are beneficial, but guess what? RDNs can! And yes, I read all about those crazy diets and health trends that pop up on my Facebook Newsfeed because I frequently get asked if I heard about this or that... and I have to be able to give an answer and an opinion. And if I haven't heard of it, I go home and do some research, but the key is knowing where to look and what sources to trust.
My whole point is to stress that it's important to know what you are reading and where it came from; make sure its credible and evidence-based. If you are looking for nutrition advice, speak to an RD, reference eatright.org (The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), and some government websites have great information as well!
And don't forget that just because it was on the internet, doesn't mean it's true!