More than 1,000 adults participated in the study conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for The Kellen Company. The researchers found that more than two-thirds of the people polled gathered information from various health and nutrition Web sites.
While 82 per cent of the adults surveyed reported that they explicitly looked for health and nutrition advice, 62 per cent among them believed that the information they gathered from the Internet was accurate.
Eighty nine per cent subjects said that they followed the advices that they got from the Web.
According to a statement issued by the American Dietetic Association (ADA): "It is the position of the ADA that food and nutrition misinformation can have harmful effects on the health, well being, and economic status of consumers... Several health organizations are addressing the proliferation of misinformation on the Internet.
"It is critical, therefore, that dietetics professionals be skeptical of information on the Internet, and that they are especially careful to provide accurate, research-supported evidence when contributing to these venues," the statement adds.
One of the food items subjected to erroneous Web sites that are run by individuals is margarine. While almost all soft margarine today is free of trans fat, many Web sites still advise people to choose butter.
The Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association, however, support soft margarine as the healthier option.
"Soft margarine is a healthier choice because of its content of good fats and because many are available in lower calorie versions," says Dr. Barbara Howard, senior scientist at the Med Star Research Institute and Chair of the American Heart Association's Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism.