With the abundance of sensationalist nutritional headlines and with self-proclaimed health gurus on the rise it is becoming increasingly important to know where to look for reliable sources of nutritional information. The internet can be a double edged sword as false messages can be spread rapidly, but equally never before have we had such a wealth of useful information so readily available; which is so important in a continually evolving area like nutrition.
No matter what the source is, the importance of critical thinking in the world of nutrition can’t be understated (check out my Nutritional Nonsense Detection Kit for a guide on how to do this), but knowing where to look for reliable nutritional information can be really useful.
This is a collection of my favourite websites for trustworthy evidence based nutritional advice, as I trained and currently work in the UK there is a slight UK emphasis to these, but most of the information that these websites share will be application worldwide.
General Information, Recipes and Meal Plans:
- British Dietetic Association (BDA) Food Fact Sheets: up to date resources written by registered dietitians on a number of dietary conditions, nutrients and lifestyle factors.
- British Heart Foundation (BHF): the UK’s largest heart charity who share healthy recipes, healthy eating tips and nutritional information; their food label guide is really handy.
- British Nutrition Foundation (BNF): provide impartial evidence-based information on food and nutrition, including topics such as: healthy living, nutritional science and nutrition in schools.
- Change 4 Life: share healthy recipes, meal ideas, shopping tips and healthy lifestyle tips; I love their new “sugar smart” app!
- Food-Info.net: a useful site which is run by Wageningen University in the Netherlands, which focuses on European related food topics.
- Lovefoodhatewaste: this site doesn’t specifically have a health focus but it is great for meal planning, portion control, reducing waste and saving money.
- NHS Choices Live Well: information on healthy eating, debunking fad diets, weight loss plans, a weight loss forum, food safety, meal and snack ideas and recipes; including the “One You Easy Meals” app.
- Web MD: experts in medicine, journalism and health communication provide credible health information and resources. (note: If you use the “symptom checker” take this with a pinch of salt as self-diagnosing on the internet isn’t a good idea, it’s always best to see your doctor!)
- Ask For Evidence: a fantastic campaign which aims to make the world more evidence based by encouraging us all to “ask to evidence”, you can submit questionable claims that you come across via their website, they also have resources for explaining evidence and of course a dedicated section for “Food and Diet”.
- BNF “Nutrition in the News”: evidence-based comments on some of the latest nutrition issues in the headlines.
- NHS Choices “Behind the Headlines”: explains the actual evidence behind science in the media, it is no surprise that a specific section for Diet and Nutrition is needed!
- Sense About Science: an excellent organization which promotes public understanding of science, their “For the Record” section debunks media claims and has some really useful publications related to nutritional claims, dieting, food safety and food allergies.
- BHF “Behind the Headlines”: debunks stories related to heart health which are currently in the news; which often includes nutrition related topics.
Evidence Based Guidelines and Information
- European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): this scientific panel examines potential food risks and assesses the validity of health claims related to nutrition.
- Public Health England (PHE): support public engagement in health issues in England, including nutrition.
- Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN): advises the UK government on evidence based nutrition and related health matters.
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): produce evidence based guidance for health care practitioners in the UK and develop quality standards for commissioners.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO): work with government and stakeholders to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people, they provide information and statistics on numerous food related issues such as: malnutrition, obesity, cardiovascular disease, food safety, GMOs etc.
- The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN): develops evidence based clinical practice guidelines for the NHS in Scotland.
Scientific Journals and Databases
- Cochrane Library: a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.
- Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (JHND): articles related to nutritional science, clinical nutrition, dietetic practice and public health nutrition (free access for BDA members).
- PubMed: a US database that provides free access to numerous journal articles including medical, health care and life science journals.
Specific to Medical Conditions:
- British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN): works to advance the nutritional care of patients and those at risk from malnutrition, they provide research and resources related to malnutrition.
- Cancer Research UK: this charity provides useful information on different types of cancer, and their “diet and cancer” section explains healthy eating to reduce the risk of cancer and debunks food myths related to cancer.
- Coeliac UK: the largest coeliac disease charity in the world, they provide resources and information for those with coeliac disease.
- Diabetes UK: the UK’s leading diabetes charity, their website contains information about recent research and campaigns related to diabetes, also healthy eating information and recipes. The American branch, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) also provides lots of useful nutritional information and recipes.
Resources for Dietitians:
- Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN): a global nutrition and dietetic resource that provides quick online access to up-to-date, critically appraised evidence (free access for BDA members)
- Promoting Excellence in Nutrition Support (PENG): facilitates dietitians working in oral, enteral and parenteral nutrition to employ best/evidence- based practice
For links to reliable nutrition blogs check out My Favourite Nutritional Bloggers.
I hope that you find this list useful; I’d be interested to hear about other trustworthy sources that you use for gathering nutrition information 😀
Disclaimer: Although these sources are reliable, nutritional advice can differ greatly between people depending on a number on factors. If you have a specific medical condition that effects your nutritional status or if you feel that you would benefit from personalised one to one advice, in most countries you can contact your GP for a referral to a Dietitian.
This post was last updated in January 2018