Too Much Information…

Sometimes I find there are just too many choices of EVERYTHING.  Food, clothes, tv channels, paint colors, pots and pans, carpets, cleaning products, and experts in EVERY subject!  I don’t know about you but I find this frustrating and overwhelming.  Don’t you ever just want three choices and you can pick one and be done?   Of course, food and nutrition is no exception from all of this madness.   It is abundant, contradictory, inaccurate, and sometimes can be misleading.  What is the best way to navigate through all of this information?  Listed below are some suggestions.  Also, be sure to share these with your tween or teen as they are particularly vulnerable to misinformation, misleading ad claims, and unhealthy weight loss gimmicks.

Pick your favorites (be it a person, magazine, website, blog).  Limit to no more than three to follow on a regular basis.  If you need information on a particular subject that your “favorites” aren’t covering, then research beyond your usual scope to get your answer.  Trust me this works.  At first you will feel like you might be missing something but you’re really not.  Daily MAJOR newsworthy stories  will be covered by a variety of venues such as tv, newspaper, radio, blogs, etc.  If you follow a couple of websites or blogs, you’ll figure out which ones you find the most pertinent to your life.

When reading or hearing information, don’t just assume it is true or accurate.  If it is a scientific study, what were the parameters they used to conduct the study?  Is Maxwell House funding a study touting coffee as reducing the risk of heart disease?  How many subjects were used in the study?  If it is subjective information or opinion, just use common sense.  Also, make sure you check out the credentials of people writing articles and blogs or proclaiming they are experts on a certain topic.   Recently I found out that Dr. Oz’s (yes, the Dr. Oz who now is everywhere doing everything) daughter, Daphne, is the nutrition and health expert on the show, “The Chew.”  Her credentials?  She is a 2008 graduate of Princeton with a BA in Near Eastern Studies.  Hmmm….she’s probably pretty knowledgable in the field of nutrition.  A blog I just read stated that Daphne Oz must be an expert by heredity.  I had to laugh when the blogger said by that logic if your parents were astronauts, you could be captain of a space shuttle (maybe with an accounting degree).   Again, just because someone can pass themselves off as an expert, doesn’t really mean they are an expert.  Valid credentials are at least a good starting point to have in order to call yourself an “expert.”

Be cautious when selecting nutrition products, especially ones that promise life changing results.  If a product claims things such as “immediate results,”  “five pound weight loss in five days,” or “cures all your ailments (most recently one that comes to mind is coconut water), be skeptical as to whether or not it will work.  Not that some of these products aren’t good or beneficial (and often expensive), but just as there is no magical method to lose weight, there is also no ONE magical food or beverage that is going to make you super healthy (or skinny)!

Some of these false advertising claims are extreme but some are much more subtle and harder to decipher.  If someone we trust seems to be promoting a product, things can really get complicated.  Jillian Michaels is a good example of this.  Many people gained respect for her as a trainer on “The Biggest Loser.”  Now this is the same person putting her face on a box  that says “America’s Toughest Trainer Makes Losing Weight Simple.”  Really???   Is losing weight EVER simple???  She has the magic pill!!  There is no way I will support her or her products.  There are thousands of Jillian Michaels out there not willing to endorse a  product making false claims.  Be careful of “big, well-known names” that start endorsing various products.  Red flag.  Some may be perfectly effective, reputable products but proceed with caution.
Lastly, limit the amount of time you find yourself sitting at your computer surfing the web.  I find myself doing this more than I would like to admit.  Sometimes I waste hours and by the time I’m done I can’t remember one thing I’ve seen or have read.  This is my own personal goal to limit the amount of time I do this.  TOO MUCH INFORMATION AND I AM OVERLOADED!!!!
Many of us know all of this.  Let this serve as a reminder.  All too often, a friend will ask me about a specific product or weight loss method.  We can all be vulnerable when we learn of something that seems like it could really address a particular concern or problem.  Always remember, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
“Information overload is a symptom of our desire to not focus on what’s important.  It IS a choice.”  Brian Solis