Go to the Source!
As far as I’m concerned these are the most important links of this entire page which is why I am placing them at the top.
There are those out there who think that the US government is awful at everything. It certainly is awful in some areas (I’m looking at you 112th Congress). But PubMed Central is a shining jewel of awesomeness. It’s a repository of full-text scientific articles… and they are all free. No subscription. No fees. Complete open access to anyone. We live in an exciting time.
Not all articles are free, however, but PubMed is a good search engine. If you find a paper you like and you want to read the entire thing, check in the top right corner for a box above the “Add to Favorites” button. If it says “Free” then congratulations, the article is yours. If it doesn’t click the box anyway; you might get lucky.
If you still have trouble accessing papers try Google Scholar. Whereas most academic search engine look at only publishers’ databases, Google Scholar searches the whole internet and can sometimes find papers that are hosted on other websites like authors’ personal blogs, sites run by nonprofit organizations, or anywhere else that might have the paper.
In addition, it of course uses Google’s superior search algorithms. In my opinion Google Scholar’s results are nearly always more relevant than PubMed or Web of Knowledge.
If you are not familiar with Cochrane reviews, get familiar with them. It’s a ridiculously awesome database of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on all kinds of health topics. If you don’t know what that means, the long and the short of it is Cochrane researchers collect all of the relevant controlled trials on a particular topic (say the use of zinc for the common cold or fish oil to prevent dementia) and review the evidence. You can read how they collected and analyzed the data along with their results and conclusions.
If you’re less interested in articles focused on medicine/health and want articles involving farming/agriculture then AGRICOLA (AGRICultural OnLine Access) is the search engine you need.
If you come across a strange-sounding health claim or product or treatment such as coffee enemas or megavitamin therapy or some other such nonsense chances are that this website has already debunked it. If something sounds too good to be true check Science-Based Medicine.
This webpage was reviewing popular nutrition websites and blogs; vetting and scoring them based on their accuracy and usefulness. Unfortunately, they are not updating their site anymore which is a shame, but they do have an archive of what sites they did review with their scores. It would be awesome if some organization decided to take up where they left off. It would be a never-ending job but a much-needed one.
A fantastic and free website run by the USDA where you can set weight management goals, track physical activity, log your food, get a detailed analysis of your diet, and more. Your tax dollars are already funding this, so you might as well take advantage of it.
SparkPeople is also a good calorie tracker with a simpler and more streamlined interface than MyPlate. Their food database is crowd-sourced which increases convenience but could affect accuracy. SparkPeople is also free, but ad-supported.
Disclaimer: I have not personally used this site nor am I getting anything to plug it. The founders of this website spoke at my university as part of a nutrition and entrepreneur seminar I had last year. They told the start-up story of the website and walked us through what it was and how it worked. By the end of the talk I became convinced that it could be a useful tool.
Papaya Head is slightly different than simply a place to log your food. It’s a site that plans dietitian-approved meals for you and/or your family. If you don’t have time or simply don’t want to spend the time searching recipe books and making shopping lists for healthy foods then this is the site for you. Note: This is not a free site. There is a monthly subscription fee.
Although I have one of my own, I am not one to follow food or nutrition blogs. That said, I really like the following blogs.
You might recognize her as the sometime guest/co-host on the podcast. She is a soon-to-be graduate of University of Washington’s Nutritional Sciences program just like me! Except that she chose the more rigorous Master of Public Health track than my humble Master of Science track. She does meticulous research on everything she writes, and she’s a voracious consumer (pardon the pun) of anything related to nutrition. I don’t know how she manages to do all her schoolwork, clinic rotations, travel the world, research, and write blog posts consistently, but she does it somehow. She might not be mortal. This is the only rational conclusion I can reach.
If you enjoy drama among the nutrition blogging community this is the place for you. Bonus: The author is very science-based in her approach.
Dr. Stephan Guyenet writes the blog, and he knows his stuff. Guyenet is also a fellow alumnus of University of Washington. Very evidence-based.
The official blog of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. It’s mostly PR for the organization, but there’s some good, evidenced-based stuff there.
For up-to-date news about food recalls, how to prevent food poisoning, and other information.
Do yourself a favor and print this list out. Take it with you when you do your grocery shopping. You will avoid wasting money and avoid many pesticides/herbicides at the same time.
General Nutrition Information
The following CDC websites provide a vast amount of data and statistics ranging from a specific city or neighborhood to the entire nation. You can find data on all kinds of things. If you dig numbers and charts you’ll love these sites.
The rest of these links are excellent resources of high-quality information on a myriad of nutrition topics. I am especially fond of the Harvard School of Public Health, the Linus Pauling Institute (check out the Micronutrient Information Center), and the Mayo Clinic’s site on supplements.