We want our experts to be factual, science-based, and honest. But this is not always easy to determine.
For example, some experts cherry-pick scientific facts in order to support ideological views. This is especially typical of vegetarian/vegan enthusiasts.
Some experts are supported by Big Pharma or otherwise have conflict of interests and therefore provide slanted information.
Is their writing stilted, or clear and straightforward?
Do they seem to possess high integrity?
What are his/her credentials? What is their background and experience? Both are important, but the latter is often more important than degrees.
1) Scientific approach: If an expert has scientific credentials this may be a point in their favor BUT not necessarily. Some scientists can be paid outright to lie, or may be unduly influenced by people in power above them.
Many studies are bought and paid for by corporations who want particular findings in advance, therefore such studies tend to be fraudulently manipulated for desired results. So if someone presents studies to back up their points you may need to validate those studies, and/or check out that expert against the other factors listed here.
2) Conflict of interests: This is related to the first point but on a more subtle level. Even basically honest people are often quite prone to rationalizing the facts to favor those who pay their salary. They may convince themselves that they are doing “the right thing” when they are not.
3) Education level: This can be important or not so important. As mentioned above, some PhDs may have conflicts of interests or cannot be trusted for other reasons. Medical doctors are trained in medical school. Big Pharma has great influence on what gets taught in major colleges and universities. Consider all factors.
4) Personal experience with health problem(s): This can be very important. People who have cured themselves through their own study and research have real direct experience. Their knowledge is not just theoretical.
5) Age: Life experience tends to generate knowledge and wisdom.
6) Integrity: High personal integrity makes a person less susceptible to distorted thinking due to monetary influences. It also makes it easier for a person to overcome personal bias in favor of evidence. People of high integrity seek the truth regardless. This is foundational. People of high integrity make the best scientists and provide the most reliable information.
Whole fields of expertise may claim to be scientific but in reality are anything but. For example, homeopathy is worthless. It is absolutely not scientific although you can find a few PubMed studies that seem to suggest some efficacy, but many more studies that show no better than placebo effect.
Linus Pauling is considered to be one of the geniuses of the 20th century. He won a Nobel Prize in chemistry, also a Nobel Peace Prize, and was awarded 48 honorary PhDs. His biography and his writings indicates a man of very high integrity, very high intelligence, and high level of knowledge. He spent the last 25 years of his life researching orthomolecular medicine. He is a man certainly to be trusted. But we need to consider that nutritional science has progressed more than 2 decades since his death (1994 at age 93).
Chris Kresser was merely an acupuncturist, but he spent 10 years battling his own serious health problems which he overcame by studying nutrition and applying what he learned to himself. He went on to develop one of the most popular natural healing businesses on the internet. I’ve watched many of his video interviews and lectures. He definitely passes all the criteria as an expert to be trusted despite no PhD. His website is here.
Paul Jaminet and his wife suffered serious health problems. When their medical doctors proved unable to help, Paul began to study nutrition. He happened to be a PhD scientist, very intelligent, so he applied scientific research methods to find out how nutrition might help. It took 7 years but he succeeded. He and his wife were cured, and they have now helped many others.
Paul offers his conclusions in his book, The Perfect Health Diet. His website is here. In my opinion Paul offers the most intelligent approach on healthy eating that exists today.
Here are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)