If I had lived a century ago, I would have spent much of my waking hours preparing meals. Growing, storing, grinding, gathering, and pretty much making something from nothing took all day long.

And now? We just spend all day talking about food.

We are now so obsessed with food, that we’ve coined a new term: foodie. Thanks to this food blog, I’d have to count myself among the foodies. And while I try to play cool and abstain from having food conversations all day, most people I meet raise the topic with me first. Most conversations revolve around recipes, but many times they are about food myths. And what the latter conversations all have in common is that they are rarely based on facts or science.

Now, I’m no expert, but I like to rely on those who are. And as soon as I hear a broad statement, like: GMOs cause cancer, allergies, digestive problems, or ( ______ insert ailment here), I immediately raise an eyebrow. Or how about the idea that wheat or soy–foods that mankind have eaten for millenia–are other sources of all evils?

When it comes to feeding my family, I take the job very seriously. And you should too. But eating healthy doesn’t mean believing every quack article on the Internet or in health magazines. Following are a few rules I hold when navigating all the food information out there:Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 9.51.20 PM

1. Consider the ads: If a food article appears in a magazine or online alongside ads promoting miracle cures for cancer or any other disease, look for another source.

Dubious ads
Dubious ads

2. Look for source citations: A lot of articles, especially online, make broad statements without a source. Real investigative food articles will have loads of sources.

3. Make sure sources are legitimate: Sources should be scientific and objective research, with proven facts, figures, statistics and measurable evidence. The credibility of the information must be able to withstand intense scrutiny, and there should be other scientific studies that came to similar conclusions. There are doctors and scientists who spend their entire careers studying the benefits and/or dangers of substances in our environment–including GMOs and soy. No legitimate study on either of these topics have found them to be dangerous. That’s not to say the jury’s not still out on them or that you shouldn’t be concerned. Just don’t believe anyone who offers facts to say the contrary.

4. When in doubt, start with Michael Pollan: An investigative journalist on the food beat–what more evidence do you need? So much of what I, and many who eat like me, know and think about food comes from Michael Pollan. When I have a question about soy, GMOs, High Fructose Corn Syrup or any other matter, I see what Michael Pollan has to say about it.

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