1. Pay attention to information from reliable sources. The U.S government (CDC, FDA, USDA), brick and mortar universities and hospitals are not usually out to take our money, sell supplements or frighten us about food. Meanwhile, celebrities, self-proclaimed food or diet gurus, or TV doctors who promote "miracle cures" often have more of a financial interest in scaring us into buying their books, diets, tests or supplements. It you read or hear that a food or ingredient is "toxic" or causes cancer, or is being promoted as a "miracle cure" be skeptical and seek information from reputable sources.
2. Read the ingredients and nutrition facts first. Don't be fooled by labels on the front of packaging. Most labels are just marketing to get your attention and don't have anything to do with nutrition. The real story is in the list of ingredients and the black and white nutrition facts panel so this is what you should look at first.
3. Look at the BIG picture when it comes to food and nutrition. Good health depends on a variety of factors including our typical diet, activity and exercise, family history, stress, and habits like smoking and drinking. One ingredient, one food or even one meal is not necessarily going to make or break our health. This also means there is no one "magic bullet" or "superfood" or beverage that has the power by itself to protect us from illnesses and diseases.
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian