The Dangers of Internet Research

For those of us that are old enough to remember the “pre-internet” days, life seemed much simpler. The internet has made finding information easier, but too much information - and the wrong kind of information -  can wreak havoc with our well being. Here are some tips for using the internet without getting lost in the online noise.

Most of the diet information is speculation and theories. This is especially true with poorly understood medical conditions, such as food sensitivity.   An example is the low histamine diet, which I have written about in my histamine intolerance blog article. Most of the information written about this topic is an educated guess, yet it is often presented as well researched facts. Writers often back up their statements with research citations.  Unfortunately, if you look closely at the citations, they rarely provide support for the statement.

Some theories have merit and may become accepted therapy in the future. But with so many different, conflicting theories - it is hard to know which one(s) are accurate.

Sensational articles draw attention. Articles that promise new cures or warn of dangers lurking all around grab attention. I’ve ready many articles on how to write compelling blog posts, and the most common suggestion is to make the posts sensational (even if you bend the truth).

Internet research often leads to haphazard changes.  When I first meet clients, they are often bouncing from one potential therapy to the next, without giving anything a chance to work. They are desperate to find a solution, fast! It can be hard, but very helpful, to slow down and try one thing at a time.

Excess internet research will change your perception of food and your health. What state are you in when you start internet searching? For most people, it is when they are worried about their health and feeling particularly unwell.   In this state, you are much more likely to absorb negative information.  Every food is labelled as “bad” for some reason or another, so it is easy to develop fear and mistrust about food.

Internet research can be a coping mechanism to distract yourself from anxiety.  Unexplained symptoms cause anxiety.  You don’t know what is causing the symptoms or what you can do about them. The anxiety and emotional suffering are usually worse than the physical suffering. We use all kinds of things to distract ourselves from feeling this anxiety and emotions - drugs, alcohol, shopping, electronics, etc. Internet research can also be a distraction.  Unfortunately, distractions stuff the feelings down. Experiencing he feelings to be without a distraction can help the negative energy dissipate. This can be an overwhelming experience, and you may need help from a mental health professional or a supportive relationship.

Consider taking a break from internet research. If you’ve read this far, you are probably identifying with the problems of too much internet research! Try taking a break. For example, if you are trying a new supplement and it will take about six weeks to know if it is helpful, take a break from research until the end of the supplement trial.

Confused about conflicting information on the internet? I can help you sort through the clutter and decide what changes you want to make.

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