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Evaluating Nutrition Information

Information on the open Web

The open Web is full of information. Some of it is very good, some of it is not. Anybody can publish information on the open Web, which means you should use caution when citing any source you find online.

Determining the quality of online health & nutrition information remains a significant challenge. No single standard exists to objectively measure the quality of medical information available online. By thinking critically & checking on your sources, you will be able to get a reasonable idea of whether or not to use the information. 

Example: Wikipedia  -   It is a good place to find background information on your topic but you probably don't want to use Wikipedia as a resource in your final paper. However, if the links at the bottom of the Wikipedia article are valid sources, you may be able to use those.


Five Quick Questions

Checking Out Online Sources of Health Information: Five Quick Questions

If you’re visiting an online health site for the first time or downloading a new app, ask these five questions:

  1. Who runs or created the site or app? Can you trust them?
  2. What is the site or app promising or offering? Do its claims seem too good to be true?
  3. When was its information written or reviewed? Is it up-to-date?
  4. Where does the information come from? Is it based on scientific research?
  5. Why does the site or app exist? Is it selling something?

Finding and evaluating online resources. (n.d.). NCCIH. Retrieved June 23, 2023, from

Who Runs the Website

Who runs the website?

A website’s address (URL) often indicates the type of organization that is responsible for its operation. All web addresses are organized in a hierarchy below a top-level domain, which is comprised of an alphabetic string appearing just after the last period and before the first forward slash in the URL. In the United States, the most common top-level domains include:

  • .gov: Indicates that the site is operated by a government agency (e.g.,
  • .edu: Indicates that the site is operated by an educational institution (e.g.
  • .org: Domain commonly used by professional and medical organizations. However, its use is unrestricted (anyone with a computer can create their own .org web site).
  • .com (or other): Domains primarily used by commercial organizations.

Finding credible information sources. (n.d.). Retrieved June 23, 2023, from

Is it Fake News or Advertising?

Are You Reading News or Advertising?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned the public about fake online news sites. The site may look real, but is actually an advertisement. The site may use the logos of legitimate news organizations or similar names and web addresses. To get you to sign up for whatever they’re selling, they may describe an “investigation” into the effectiveness of the product. But everything is fake: there is no reporter, no news organization, and no investigation. Only the links to a sales site are real. Fake news sites have promoted questionable products, including acai berry for weight loss, work-at-home opportunities, and debt reduction plans.

You should suspect that a news site may be fake if it:

  • Endorses a product. Real news organizations generally don’t do this.
  • Only quotes people who say good things about the product.
  • Presents research findings that seem too good to be true. (If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.)
  • Contains links to a sales site.
  • Includes only positive reader comments, and you can’t add a comment of your own.

Finding and evaluating online resources. (n.d.). NCCIH. Retrieved June 23, 2023, from

Finding Health Information on Social Media

Finding Health Information on Social Media

About one-third of American adults use social networking sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, as a source of health information. If you do:

  • Check the sponsor’s website.
    • Health information on social networking sites is often very brief. For more information, go to the sponsoring organization’s website. On Twitter, look for a link to the website in the header; on Facebook, look in the About section.
  • Verify that social media accounts are what they claim to be.
    • Some social networking sites have a symbol that an account has been verified. For example, Twitter uses a blue badge.
    • Use the link from the organization’s official website to go to its social networking sites.

Finding and evaluating online resources. (n.d.). NCCIH. Retrieved June 23, 2023, from

Evaluative Tool

General Web sites on nutrition

A Guide We Like