Recognizing Credible Information

Can I just say super fast that this is the second time I am writing this post, because somehow I accidentally deleted the whole thing the first time I wrote it. So let that be a lesson, always, always save what you are writing. 

I was so excited this week to have two people comment about my RD Anna Facebook page and the information that I have shared. They said that they had read some of the articles and really appreciated the great information that I was sharing. That is so exciting for me. First of all, that people were actually reading what I was writing and sharing. Secondly, it was wonderful that people were recognizing and appreciating having evidence-based information that is being shared. 

Our social media feeds are filled with misinformation and with the whole "fake news" phenomenon that has been occurring over the past couple of years, credible information is important. We need people to be sharing accurate information and not propagating misinformation. That is one reason why I share information on my Facebook page. I feel that as a health professional and nutrition expert, you should be getting your nutrition information from me, not some random person on the internet who calls them self a nutritionist. I also wanted to share an example with you that happened to me the other week. Someone at my work was telling me about how they had read information on Facebook about how infectious disease doctors were to blame for people dying from the flu this year. When I tried to clarify, what this person was saying her response was "the article named the specific flu strands, so therefore it has to be true." This is why as health professionals, we must share accurate, credible information and as people on social media, we need to identify misinformation.

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How do you identify credible information on social media? 

  • Look for credible sources in the article. When you are looking through an article shared on social media, take the time to see what sources are quoted or what citation they use. Where is the writer getting their statistics? Is this information from credible sources? If you are looking at medical or wellness information are the sources being used from places like JAMA, AAP, CDC, AND or another nationally recognized institution known for presenting evidence-based information? If you can't identify any sources for the information presented, that might be a red flag this article might not be credible. If the sources are not from nationally recognized institutions, that might be another red flag to take the information with a grain of salt. 
  • Who are the "experts" that are being quoted? Most likely whatever, you are reading, as some time of expert that is interviewed or quoted. What are the credentials for that individual? Are they an expert in the field that they are speaking about? If the question to that is no, then that is probably not a credible article to be getting information from. For example, you don't want a podiatrist to be talking about the terrible flu season. That is not his/her area of expertise. Also look at the credentials that the "expert" has. Is this person talking about nutrition, just someone who is classified as a nutritious or is this an actual Registered Dietitian Nutritionist? If your athletic trainer is talking about nutrition, that might not be the best nutrition expert to be getting that information from. Taking the time to identify who is the "expert" is and how they are being quoted is a key way to identify credible information online. 
  • If the information is "too good to be true" then it might not be true. If you are reading a news headline and you just can't believe what it is saying, that should be a red flag. Every writer wants to draw you in, get you to click on the link and open the article they have written. Often writers create crazy titles to get you to click on their article. If you are reading through this information and feel like this information is too good to be true, then pause, step back and realize that it might not be accurate information. This is especially true with weight loss recommendations. Everyone wants a quick fix, but that is just not how it really works. 

Hopefully this information is helpful as you try to weed through all the information on social media and identify what is actually accurate information. You might be wondering what my sources are for these recommendations, well check out some of the links below. 

 

Coconut Craze

Well by this time you have probably heard of coconut oil and been told that it is SUPER healthy and you need to eat it on EVERYTHING! So some reason everyone is thinking coconut oil is the next health food. In fact 72% of consumers think that coconut oil products are healthy compared with only 37% of nutritionists. This shows a huge disconnect between the public and what professionals know. 

So let's break this down ... what is in coconut oil? It is a plant based oil and most of the time this does mean healthy. All of your other plant based oils are high in unsaturated fat (heart healthy fats) - canola, olive, grapeseed, and avocado oil just to name a few. Coconut oil is from a plant, but instead has high amounts of saturated fat. In fact 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated fat. That is a higher percentage of saturated fat compared with butter, beef fat or pork lard. Eeek! So that should be a red flag. There are some unsaturated fats in coconut oil, but only about 15% of the fat are unsaturated (heart healthy fat chains). 

The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 6% of your total daily calories come from saturated fat. These recommendations are to help keep your cholesterol levels within normal limits. So you need some fat and a small amount of saturated fat is fine, but you don't need large amounts of these saturated fats. 

There are not very many studies looking specifically at coconut oil. This is a new food trend and because of that most of the heart studies that say that saturated fat causes heart disease are done with animal based fats. More research needs to be done with coconut oil and see that if this plant based (high saturated fat) oil does indeed lead to same negative heart disease outcomes. 

The whole reason that saturated fat is demonized is because studies have shown that it decreases your HDL (good cholesterol) and then increases your LDL (bad cholesterol) and this can lead to increased plaque build up in your arteries. 

So what does this look like in real life? Well if you take your coconut oil and measure it out. 1 Tablespoon contains 12g of saturated fat and that makes up 60% of your daily recommended saturated fat intake. This 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil contains 117 calories, 13.6g of total fat. Coconut oil contains 10 times more saturated fat than unsaturated fat. This is still fat and should be treated as such. Use this fat source in moderation. Doesn't go dumping it in your coffee, slathering it on your potato and drinking it in your smoothie. That much added fat isn't going to help you be healthier, but will just add additional calories and could lead to increased weight gain. Yes, it tastes delicious, but so does every fat. 

Hopefully you can see that this coconut oil craze is indeed just that ... a craze! This food item as been around for awhile and there are no magical health properties with this oil. Use it in moderation and if you have a risk of heart disease or struggle with high blood pressure, avoid this fat source. Reach for more heart healthy fats (plant based fats) that have proven heart health properties. 

Food & Nutrition Magazine Article - The Stone Soup

I was excited to share this with you all, because I thought it was neat. I have been asked to write up/share some blog posts that I had up on RDAnna.com. There is a magazine that is run through The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics called Food & Nutrition Magazine. This is a lovely print magazine and I absolutely love reading through it whenever it arrives at my house. They have a blog called The Stone Soup, which is a great compilation of posts from RDs all over the country. I had been talking with them for awhile about posting something, but it took me forever to get around to it. 

Well I submitted a couple of options for them about various nutrition topics and they chose one about endurance nutrition/running. I just had to share this with you! I was so excited to have this wonderful opportunity. If you want to read my article on the Food & Nutrition website then CLICK HERE.

I also had a great shout out on Twitter from @foodnutrimag and I was excited about that as well. Any time something that I write or share has the chance to reach a wider audience, I can't help but get excited! 

New Facebook Page! Like it! Love it!

I wanted to write a little blog post about my NEW and updated Facebook page. I have made a separate Facebook page for RDAnna and all my nutrition related posts. I have been posting nutrition information to social media for years, but I thought I would create a separate page to make things a little more professional. 

Take a minute and LIKE my RDAnna Facebook page and follow me so that you can continue to get awesome nutrition information, updated blog posts and some videos in the future. I am starting a new project that will be helpful to RDs in NICU formula rooms around the country and I am eager to share those on social media as well. Thanks for the "likes" and the love! 

Watching out for Added Sugar!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a recommendation on a daily cap for added sugar. This is the first time this has happened. The guidelines are that Americans should not be consuming more than 10% of their total calories for the day from added sugar. This equates to about 12.5 teaspoons or about 50 grams per day. Now if you are wondering what 50 grams of added sugar might look like, think of a can of regular soda. The regular, sugar sweetened soda contains about 50 grams of added sugar. Other common food items were added sugar can be found would include any type of sweet treats (food or beverage). 

Photo by OcusFocus/iStock / Getty Images

There are some foods that contain sugar naturally - like fruit, dairy, honey, etc. These items are NOT included in the added sugar recommendation. The dairy and fruit contain other nutrients (vitamin and minerals) as well has fiber in the fruit and protein in the dairy. This makes these naturally sweet food items, great and healthy picks. The honey or agave are good sweeteners, but they will contain the same amount of calories, just the source of the sugar will be different. 

You may not have thought about this, but there are some food items that contain "hidden" sugar that we perceive as "healthy." For example, yogurt with added fruit, granola, bread, ketchup, canned fruit, canned coups, salad dressing and pasta sauce. Now, none of the items are inherently bad, but we do need to make sure we are aware of the sugar that is added to them and maybe limit our intake of them if the sugar is a problem (for example, with diabetic individuals).

  • To make your yogurt healthier, get the plain or the vanilla and add your own fresh fruit to it.
  • Watch out for granola because it not only has added sugar, but also fat. Eat this in moderation or add a little to plain yogurt.
  •  Bread does have some sugar added to it, but normally this is a small amount and I wouldn't worry too much about it. 
  • Condiments can have a lot of added sugar, especially the low/non-fat dressings. They have removed the fat and added sugar in its place. I would also choose a regular fat dressing and just use it sparingly. 

Hopefully these tips and tricks have been helpful when it comes to trying to abide by the recommend of keeping added sugar to 10% or less of our total calories each day! 

Featured as the RD of the Day on Today's Dietitian

So I totally have to geek out on you for a minute. I did a news story with WISH TV, which aired this last week. It was about Sports Nutrition and Children. If you happened to miss it, well head over to my media page and check it out. 

Well Today's Dietitian decided to choose me at the RD of the Day on their Twitter page. I know it doesn't seem like the coolest thing to you ever, but it totally made my day.  This popped into my email and I felt honored that someone had noticed my work and decided to share it with their 8,000 followers. 

It is so neat that because of social media we can connect and share what we are doing all over the world. I think that is a huge win for nutrition education we can provide people with tips for wellness via these social platforms. I just love being part of that! 

Media Award from the Indiana Dietetic Association

I had the honor to receive the Media Award from the Indiana Dietetic Association (IDA) on April 16th at the IDA Spring Meeting in Indianapolis. It was a fun day. I got to attend the conference in the morning and listened to some great presentations. I also had the opportunity to see and network with some old colleagues, preceptors, classmates and professors. In addition to attending some presentation and getting continuing education, we had a fantastic luncheon followed by the award ceremony. My Dad was able to come to the luncheon with me, which was fantastic. Chas' mom come to the ceremony along with my co-workers Kristin and Lori. It was such a welcomed surprise to have all of them there. 

I feel that being a Registered Dietitian means I am a nutrition expert. Four years of college and a year long internship had provided me with a fantastic base of knowledge to help interrupt/communicate nutrition recommendations to the public. Lots of time the media if filled with people talking about nutrition and they don't always have the correct information. I love being able to speak to people and provide accurate nutrition recommendations. Being the recipient of this award was so great and I am so honored. Thank you for the nomination Angie and I hope that there are lots of other dietitians getting out there in communities and helping people make healthy choices. 

The 2015 Indiana Dietetic Association Media Award! 

The 2015 Indiana Dietetic Association Media Award! 

My Dad and Chas' Mom after the award presentation.

My Dad and Chas' Mom after the award presentation.


National Registered Dietitian Day!

If you didn't know March 11th is National Registered Dietitian Day! So if you know a dietitian then you should definitely wish them Happy RD Day! I think it is excited that there is a day during National Nutrition Month when we get to celebration dietitians. I may be tooting my own horn, but RDs do so much behind the scenes in hospitals to help provide care to sick patients. To give you a glimpse into what an RD might do during their day here is a list of things that I did today: 

  • Sat in a 2 hour meeting about a fortifier to use in human breast milk and the feasibility of getting this product in our NICU. 
  • Put together a display for National Nutrition Month for the cafeteria on Smart Snacking. 
  • Charted on NICU babies - assessing calorie/protein/fluid needs, growth and updating their nutrition plan of care. 
  • Spent 1 1/2 hours working with a patient on our Med/Surg unit who needed some soup and supplements that we didn't end up having in house, but got those items finally to the patient. 

That is just a glimpse into the variety of things that I find myself doing each and every day as a Registered Dietitian. For more information about Registered Dietitians CLICK HERE.

Welcome!

This is my new blog home. I was very excited to actually create a professional website and blog. I have spent the last 5 years writing on my Life Through Green Eyes Blog and then separately posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Here recently, Chas (my amazing husband) came up with the idea to have my own centralized webpage where I can have a more professional media presence. I thought it was a great idea and so what you are seeing if hopefully the start to something amazing. We were able to purchase the domain name www.RDAnna.com and hoping to build off of that. It is a work in progress so bare that in mind as we get started with this new website and blog platform. 

Hopefully this will be a great place to post information about new nutrition research, recipes for you to try, tips about being healthy and can be a platform to share my media work with my friends and family.