The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Research under the magnifying glass

Research under the magnifying glass

Research is the backbone of evidence-based dietetic practice, even though challenges have been noted among South African dietitians. Finding and critically analysing literature are the foundation of research competency and essential nutrition and health literacy. On the one hand, there is an abundance of wisdom in health and nutrition journals. On the other hand, there is a widespread ‘medical misinformation mess’, which refers to the publication of medical research of poor quality. Health professionals seemingly lack awareness of this problem. This may also be true for diet and nutrition publications in general and has been specifically highlighted for dairy intake, for example concerning bone health.

Apart from academic journals, the Internet and social media have over the past decades become a primary source of information for health professionals and their clients/patients. A deluge of information can swamp the gullible Internet user, making it even more challenging to distinguish between fake or flawed research versus studies that can be trusted. While digital nutrition promotion can be effective, nutrition messages perceived to be conflicting may lead to ‘nutrition backlash’. Nutrition professionals should avoid this at all costs.

This review aims to guide dietitians and nutrition professionals and equip them with tools to critically analyse nutrition and health research, with special reference to dairy and health. The intention is to empower the dietitian/nutritionist to provide authoritative nutrition care.


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