Dietary Cacophony 


Now that’s a complicated phrase! So, what does Dietary Cacophony mean you might be wondering? The term was originally described by French sociologist Claude Fischler in 1993 as the confusing and often conflicting messages one reads or hears from multiple sources about how they “should” be eating. Every day we are faced with dietary cacophony when navigating food choices. 


Examples of Dietary Cacophony:

  1. One source tells you: “There is too much sugar in carbs”, Another source tells you: “Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy” 
  2. One source tells you: “Fruit is high in carbs and sugar”, Another source tells you: “Fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and fiber” 
  3. One source tells you: “Choose low-fat products more often”, Another source tells you: “Some low-fat products such as yogurt contain more sugar than regular yogurt so it may not be healthier”

So, what is the “right” answer? Is there a right answer?


There is so much “noise” around us one minute telling us foods we should eat and the next those same foods are actually “bad” for our health. It can become really hard to decipher fact from fiction especially when “doctors” start posting about miracle diets or foods. After all, they are healthcare professionals. We should listen to them, right?! Well, this is not always the case, but we won’t get into that in this week’s blog!


Dietary Cacophony can occur most often when we are grocery shopping. You may find yourself conflicted over which cracker to buy based on what you read online about rice chips being the “healthiest option” and feel forced to buy them over the ones you REALLY want and would enjoy a lot more. However, sometimes if we look a little bit closer, we can see that there really is not a big difference between the nutritional value of the two products. Now I am not encouraging you to be constantly looking at nutrition labels and figuring out which is the “better option” but I am challenging you to challenge the mixed messages we hear constantly about food. 


Even from a simple google search, we can be influenced to buy certain foods that we believe to be the “healthier” option. For example, A simple google search led me to believe that Lay’s Chips are “unhealthy”, and Terra Chips are healthy. Perhaps this may be because Terra Chips are advertised as a vegetable chip but hey potatoes are vegetables too!!

Upon taking a closer look I have come to the realization that this is not true and that there is no “healthier option” here for the same amount of chips. The true healthier option is the one that you WANT to eat and will enjoy more, not what you read online or hear from a friend.

So, the next time you hear or see a nutrition claim about a certain product being better or healthier than another I challenge you to challenge the source. First look at who/what the source is. Is it a newspaper article written by a non-nutrition health professional? If so, take that information with a grain of salt. It could even be a magazine rack by the checkout showcasing Gwenyth Paltrow’s new diet which again take that with a VERY small grain of salt!! 


Dietary cacophony can easily contribute to our day-to-day confusion. By knowing this term, think about what sources lead to your dietary cacophony. Is it doing a quick google search, scrolling through TikTok, or that eye-grabbing Facebook ad? There is a lot of unreliable nutrition information online so try to challenge yourself to scroll more mindfully. 


Dietary Cacophony is all around us. If you find yourself getting confused with all the “noise” a registered dietitian at Food Ease Co. can help!


Rousseau, S. (2015). The celebrity quick-fix. Food, Culture & Society, 18(2), 265–287.×14180391604404

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