Oops! It looks like you are using an outdated browser. In order to view our brand new website and it's amazing features please upgrade your browser.
Take a scroll through Insta, and what do you see? If your feed is anything like ours, it’s probably filled with posts about fitness, health and wellness – tips on how to live a happier, fuller life. And that’s great, but when those posts about ‘wellness’ get muddled with ‘illness’, it can open up a can of rather problematic worms.
It’s brilliant that so many people are passionate about health and fitness, and focus on getting the most out of their bodies and brains.But that doesn’t mean every opinion is built equally – or, even more importantly – that all health advice is worth listening to.
Health advice pertaining to wellness and exercise is one thing. But medical advice that tells you how to treat illness or a condition? That’s another thing entirely.
Illness is an incredibly serious topic, and should be treated with the utmost respect and care.
Keep it Cleaner’s food and exercise plans have been formulated with the help of our team of experts – including a dietitian and a doctor. While Steph and Laura will always share the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, they are careful to never give medical advice. Here at KIC, we want to encourage all women to be active and happy, but we’re not here to replace physicians whatsoever.
To help you differentiate between what is useful, and what might be inaccurate, here’s our guide to reading medical advice online.
Don’t get us wrong, food is AMAZING and absolutely integral to our health. Eating a balanced diet is crucial to boosting our immune system, maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing the onset of illness.
We will always advocate for things like eating leafy veggies because they nourish our body and help us KIC’ some serious goals.
However, food is not medicine – no matter how many influencers try to tell you it is. Once an illness is present in the body, food will not ‘cure’ it. If food was medicine, the average life expectancy wouldn’t have been 40 years old in the 19th century, right?
We all live longer because of advancements in science – that is a fact.
Eating well is beneficial for your holistic health, but it will not ‘heal’ cancer, and it should never be seen as a replacement for medical intervention. Anyone who tells you otherwise is dangerous.
Medical school is bloody hard to get into for a reason – a doctor’s brain needs to soak up a LOT of information! They study the human body for 10 years because there’s simply so much to know; the science behind medicine, health and illness is complicated.
So while we can safely call a person who has studied medicine at a formally-recognised university an ‘expert’, perhaps we should be wary of affixing that label to others.
If someone has studied their Bachelor or Master’s degree at university – say, in dietetics, nursing, psychology, physiotherapy, or medicine – you can be fairly certain they are coming from a position of knowledge. If a person dishing out health advice has no qualifications whatsoever, has a qualification that isn’t recognised by the Australian Medical Association, or perhaps has a ‘certificate’ in a certain field, make sure their advice is always secondary to your health practitioner’s. Online courses can be fantastic, but they do not equip students with knowledge that is comparable to a medical degree.
If someone online is proselytising about a new, untapped medical miracle – say, a smoothie recipe that cures breast cancer – always think of the ‘R-word’ first. Where is their research? Is their research peer-reviewed? Was it published in a credible medical journal? How can they make this claim? What are their qualifications?
If something sounds too good to be true, unfortunately, it probably is.
For your own reference, the top medical journals in the world include the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, The Lancet,The British Medical Journal, The Medical Journal of Australia, andThe Journal of the American Medical Association.
If someone is spreading medical advice, they should be open and honest about where that advice comes from. If the advice is anecdotal (purely from their own experience), it should be disregarded. Decades of studies and research should never be substituted for one person’s experience, which may be coloured by bias and ulterior motives.
If the influencer or person dishing out medical advice isn’t transparent about their sources, or deletes critical comments that point to science, their views should almost definitely be disregarded.
More than anything, it’s important to think critically about the advice you stumble across online. If an influencer is preaching medical miracles, don’t blindly accept what they’re telling you – look to the research, the science, and the people who have pored over and studied it.
And, above everything else, don’t take risks with your health. You are important – WAY too important to take a gamble on something an influencer said, based on nothing but anecdotal evidence and a hunch.