1. They talk about leaky gut as though it is a diagnosis.  

    Healthcare professionals refer to this as intestinal permeability.  Far from being a diagnosis, it is a symptom.  Leaky gut does not cause illnesses, illnesses cause a leaky gut.  Also, aside from an unreliable mannitol/lactose test, there is no medical test for it.  If the site you are on tells you otherwise, chances are the rest of the stuff on their site is unfounded.

  2.  They don’t have real credentials.

    If you are in the US, you do not have to have ANY education at all to call yourself a nutritionist.  If you want to be more official, you can do an online nutrition certificate training program that is only $49 through Groupon, though.  Get your info from someone who has made it through the required science courses in university, has sat for a rigorous examination, who has had other professionals say “Yes, this person knows what they are talking about.”  This vetted professional is much more likely to be able to discern fake studies from the real ones, interpret the results and conclusions for you, and give you sound advice based on it.  The other guy is just recycling what he has heard someone else say.

  3. They have an obsession with detoxing and cleanses.

    But, I’ve already talked about this, haven’t I?

  4. They claim to have the information all the doctors are sweeping under the rug.

    Doctors, dietitians, physical therapists, etc- we want the answers as much as you do, but we have to admit when we don’t have them.  Otherwise we would lose our licenses due to recklessness.  People who don’t have licenses have nothing to lose (and usually, something to sell).

  5. They say their recipe has no sugar yet it calls for maple syrup or honey.

    Sorry to say, but maple syrup and honey are sugar.  For example, 1 T of maple syrup = roughly 15 gm of sugar;  1 T of honey = roughly 15 gm sugar; 1 T table sugar = 15 gm sugar.  Eating too much syrup or honey will still make your blood sugars shoot up faster than you can say paleo cupcake.

  6. They say their recipe has only natural sugars.  

    Whether “natural” or processed, sugar does the same thing in your body regardless of which you choose.  As for the “more nutrients” argument? If you want more nutrients, well- mix in a salad, champ.

  7.  They have before and after pictures.

    There is nothing helpful about these pictures.  If anything, they are triggers for people who have body dysmorphia or eating disorders.  Can we just stop with the sports bra selfies, already?!  What does that say about being healthy?  Or about being beautiful, for that matter? (Also, why do we call them selfies when the pictures say nothing about who we are?  It’s just our shell.  Perhaps we should call them shellies??) Most sites that use before and after pictures are not concerned about health- just the appearance of it.


Bonus: They proudly post pictures of themselves with Dr. Oz.

This wasn’t on my original list when I was planning this post, but I have noticed one particular “doctor” blogger with a massive following who has so much nutrition misinformation I honestly thought he was trying to be funny.  Unsurprisingly, he proudly associates himself with Dr. Oz. A man who, when called before a Senate hearing to defend why he lied to millions of  viewers and used his doctor status to sell supplements, said, “I passionately study them. I recognize they oftentimes do not often have the scientific muster to present them as fact.”  Yeeeeeeeet, he presents them as fact.  Do not trust someone who will happily associate their credibility with his.

And, while there are more red flags I could cover, I  believe these will filter out most garbage for you.  Don’t be surprised if this turns into a series of posts, though.

If you’d like to know some of my favorite REAL nutritionists/dietitians to follow are, check this out.


Further reading/resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA0wKeokWUU // http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/how-dr-oz-effect-has-hooked-american-consumers-n134801 //http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dr-oz-endorsed-green-coffee-bean-diet-study-retracted/ // http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/23/dr-oz-products_n_7120654.html