More Than Quackery

Last week, Cliff Weathers at Alternet gave us a tutorial on 4 of the Biggest Quacks Plaguing America with False Claims About Science. “In short,” Weathers says, “quackery is dangerous. It promotes fear, devalues legitimate science and can destroy lives.”

He’s absolutely right. A number of food conversations center around anything but science. It makes it tough on everyday consumers who want clear information on keeping their family healthy and safe, without doing graduate-level research into every spurious claim of the week.

Consumers are wising up. In the International Food Information Council 2014 Food & Health Survey, only 1 percent to 3 percent of consumers indicated that TV and social media personalities were a most trusted source on issues like nutrition, physical activity, and weight loss.

Whether delivered online or in the news, quackery isn’t always easy to spot from the outside. Quacks can write books and hold doctorates (though frequently in weird, off-topic subjects, but it doesn’t keep them from wearing their ‘Dr.’ with pride when speaking on health issues).

Most of us are already rushing from work to school to rec sports; even thinking about eating right can be an accomplishment. When we do, we deserve information that’s both accurate and easy to understand. We’re owed more than quackery.

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