Decision making in nutrition is based on current available scientific evidence. However, we are currently living in a time of highly accessible information, and with the increase in accessibility has come a concomitant increase in misinformation and pseudoscience relating to nutrition. This presents a challenge to the nutrition research community, practitioners, and consumers, and highlights a need to critically examine the current evidence-based framework in nutrition, and identify strategies for future improvements. This narrative review outlines the current evidence-based framework and approaches to evidence-based practice in the nutrition field, focusing on policy and guideline development. Within the framework, systematic reviews are an important tool for evidence-based practice, underpinning translation guidelines and other implementation documents. Recommendations for consumption of nutrients, foods, and whole diets are required to guide consumers and practitioners; however, these resources must be updated regularly to remain timely and accurate. In turn, clinical practice guidelines guide practitioners in how to implement the evidence base for patients and clients, supporting practitioners to be positioned as a key conduit between scientific evidence and the public. In contrast, health claims may support marketing of food products, but require consideration of the strength and quality of the evidence to support health claims, with external oversight required to ensure claims are appropriate. Collecting, synthesizing, and translating the evidence base in nutrition remains an ongoing challenge, particularly in the current context of increased information availability. To address growing challenges in combating pseudoscience, nutrition researchers, policy makers, and practitioners must work together, and the role of practitioners in translating the evidence base and personalizing it to individual patients must be emphasized. Continuing to address current challenges, including increasing the timeliness and consistency of the approach to the evidence base, is required to ensure informed and robust nutrition policy, research, and practice into the future.
Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 2020