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Publication #FCS8584

Healthy Living: Clues of Quackery1

Linda B. Bobroff and Luisa Oliver-Cordero2

Is there something for sale?

Information provided as part of a sales pitch often is NOT trustworthy!

Figure 1. 

Look for the clues of quackery.


Wavebreak Media/

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Is the author/speaker qualified to provide nutrition or health information?

Information from persons who lack formal education in nutrition or health may not be trustworthy. Registered dietitians (RD or RDN) licensed dietitians/nutritionists (LD/N), and nutrition professors (PhD) all have training in nutrition. Health professionals such as physicians (MD), physician’s assistants (PA), nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (ARNP), and pharmacists (PharmD) are good sources of health information.

Is elimination of one or more food groups recommended?

If so, this may be a sign of quackery. For good health, we need a variety of nutrients from all the food groups. Persons from different cultures as well as vegetarians can use MyPlate to learn how to get all the nutrients they need. Information is available at

Does it sound too good to be true?

Key words that may mean quackery are “quick,” “painless,” “miracle,” and “cure.”



This document is FCS8584 (la versión en español de este documento es Vida saludable: Indicios de fraude (FCS8484-Span)), one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date January 2001. Reviewed December 2017. Visit the EDIS website at


Linda B. Bobroff, Ph.D., RDN, professor; and Luisa Oliver-Cordero, BS, RD, LD/N, former ENAFS nutrition educator/trainer; Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.