Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

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Infographics; heavy on the graphics, light on the info

Every body loves a good infographic. They’re eye-catching, succinct ways of sharing information. The problem is, for the most part, they oversimplify complicated information. At best, that means that viewers end-up getting only a partial picture of an issue. At worst, that means that they hasten the spread of misinformation.

Take the example of the viral Coke infographic.


This was all over the place a few weeks ago and it made me want to tear out my hair. Don’t get me wrong, I personally dislike Coke (and pop in general) and I’m no fan of their marketing to developing nations and children, but I don’t want to dissuade people from drinking Coke using questionable science. Since this infographic went viral fellow RD Andy Bellatti wrote an excellent piece about it.

Following hot on the footsteps of the original Coke infographic came the Diet Coke infographic:


And then…


As Andy points out in his article, such infographics only provide information (and not necessarily accurate information as many people aren’t consuming these beverages in isolation) about a brief period of time. There’s nothing about the long-term implications of regular or excessive consumption of these drinks, which is the real concern. An occasional Coke isn’t going to kill you. It’s the daily, often multiple times a day, consumption of Coke that becomes a concern.

These are just a very small example of the infographics out there. Even when infographics are grounded in good science and information, when taken on their own they may not tell you the whole story. Anyone can put together an infographic. If you want the full picture you need to look beyond the graphic and find more info.

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Follow Friday: Food Crisis Infographics

A visual representation of a survey conducted to determine the eating habits of Sheridan College students. By Jennifer Ellis

A visual representation of a survey conducted to determine the eating habits of Sheridan College students. By Jennifer Ellis

I love these infographics created by students studying Applied Illustration at Sheridan College.

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Follow Friday: The red flags of quackery v2.0


Yeah, I know, this is old but it’s still applicable (unfortunately). Check out the excellent guide to quackery by sci-ence to avoid falling prey to nutritional and scientific nonsense. You can also follow the creator on twitter at: @sciencecomic.¬†And have a great weekend!


Follow Friday: SugarGram


This infographic is pretty neat; especially when it comes to the mind boggling quantity of sugar in those last few items. However, some of their numbers are a little off. For example, a medium apple contains about 14 grams of sugar, not 23 (obviously this will vary somewhat depending on the size and variety of apple). It’s also important to consider that while an apple or baby carrots may contain more sugar than a single oreo cookie they also contain significantly more healthful nutrients.