Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Google nutrition search

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avocado with options

As much as I love google (I’ve joked that they own my soul) I’m not sure about their new nutrition in-search feature.

A fitocracy friend recently told me about this feature and since then it’s been all over the Internet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t yet appear to be available everywhere, just in the US, which means that I’m unable to check it out myself.

Looking at the blog post they wrote to tell us about it is where I developed my reticence. The blog post indicates that you can ask the google nutrition search any nutrition related question and it will give you an answer; both written and aloud. They provide examples like: “How much protein is in a banana?” or “How many calories are in an avocado?” They also write: “Tempted by some popcorn at the movies? Ask “how many calories are in popcorn” and you’ll get your answer. [Hint: it’s 31 calories per cup]”. Interesting, because aside from that very much depending on the theatre chain and the toppings, I’m pretty sure that movie popcorn contains more calories than that. Also, a small is about 11 cups so honestly, who’s eating only one cup of popcorn at the theatre?

According to an analysis of movie theatre popcorn in the Globe and Mail, popcorn servings and calories tend to be larger than stated and several hundred calories more than stated. Can we trust the information that google is providing us in these nutrition searches? Where are they getting their numbers from? According the the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, a single cup of popcorn at a major movie chain in the US would have about 62 calories, twice as many as stated in the google nutrition search.If this is the example that they’re providing on their blog, I can’t help but wonder how inaccurate the rest of the nutrition information they’re providing is.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

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