Does the Media Impact What You Eat?

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • It’s very easy to let media hype influence eating choices. A new study comes out telling you this or that food increases your risk of having a heart attack and that food is off the menu. It’s hard to remember that the media is trying to get your attention. They need you to keep reading or watching whatever information they share. So, they are going to take a study (whether it is a solid study or not) and sensationalize it to keep your interest. Doesn’t mean the whole story is going to be fully shared.


    This puts you at a disadvantage because you may not have the background to determine if the information shared is valid or not. How do you know if the study was peer reviewed? How do you know if the results have a statistical significance? How do you know if the study was funded by a company with a conflict of interest that caused results to be skewed in the direction they wanted? There are many factors to consider when determining the validity of study results.

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    Yes, you need to be aware of new research being conducted, but don’t let the TV, newspaper, magazine, etc. be the final determinant on what is a healthy food choice and what is not.


    Here are a few foods that have been impacted by such media hype:



    Eggs contain dietary cholesterol. For quite some time, those living with high cholesterol believe they must eliminate eggs from their diet. However, many valid research studies show that most individuals can consume eggs in moderation (one egg per day or less) without raising cholesterol levels. If you choose to eliminate eggs, you are also eliminating a rich source of high-quality protein and multiple vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D deficiency has become a significant concern in the American population. Eggs are a natural source of vitamin D.



    White potatoes are considered a poor food choice and considered to lack nutritional value. This is not the case. Potatoes provide dietary fiber and potassium among other nutrients. I compared the nutritional value of white potatoes versus sweet potatoes and the nutritional difference is not as great as you might expect.


    Wheat products

    Going gluten free has been the big topic. Many people feel they need to eliminate gluten from their diet, when in fact only about 1% of the US population is gluten sensitive. Wheat is the main grain source for gluten in the US. Wheat contributes fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals to the diet. Wheat foods have long been fortified with folic acid ensuring nutrient requirements for this vitamin are met for a healthy pregnancy.



    Lean cuts of beef can be a part of a low saturated fat diet. Lean beef is a good source of vitamins B6 and B12, zinc, iron, and protein. The iron levels of beef are double the iron in chicken and ten times greater than the iron in fish.


    These above four foods are considered “bad” by many, but see how they each still have several nutritional benefits? If you eliminate one from your diet, you are eliminating a source of nutrients. How will you replace these nutrients? In most cases, there is room is a well-balanced diet for all foods. Just make wise choices and don’t go overboard on any one food.


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    To learn tips specific to lowering cholesterol levels and promoting heart health, sign up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps at



Published On: October 30, 2013