Livestrong Nutritional Guidelines

General Guidelines

  • Only claim titles you have experience with. For example: Do not claim a title related to diet pills unless you have a background in clinical nutrition and/or weight management. These pills could interact with medications, and a writer must possess the knowledge base to be able to handle these titles responsibly.
  • Avoid generalizations, broad statements or hyperbole. Use facts and numbers for support.
  • Do not include recipes or instructions on how to cook specific meals. Instead focus on healthy tips and techniques, like grilling, baking, etc.
  • Please use the USDA Nutrient database for all nutrient-content information and/or manufacturer’s websites.
  • Provide precautions and safety tips when applicable. For example: Include safety tips like proper food handling, temperatures, storing, and the dangers of uncooked eggs or meat. Also address home canning precautions, when necessary.
  • For titles that are overly broad like “Fruits & Vegetables That Are Healthy,” select the best options and provide nutrient information that justifies their inclusion.
  • Do not offer medical advice or write titles like “Foods to Eat During a Stomach Virus.” For titles that have a primary nutrition focus but are somewhat related to a medical topic, keep the focus of the article on nutrition. Give warnings on when to seek guidance from a medical professional when applicable.
  • Do not advise readers on specific dosages.
  • Do not write titles that seem dangerous or give unrealistic weight loss information, like “Lose 10 Pounds in One Week.”
  • If you encounter a title that is overtly medical, please query the help desk to see if the title is acceptable to write. 

Style and Format

  • Use figures for all quantities of serving sizes. EXAMPLE: 2 tablespoons, 6 cups, 2 pounds.
  • Spell out all measurements – grams instead of g.
  • Keep the paragraphs at an appropriate length, roughly 150-175 words. Be concrete and always look to have solid statements per paragraph. 
  • Write subtitles that are descriptive and include the keywords of the article. Subtitles should allow users to scan the content and understand what each section provides as value for the article.
  • Don’t overextend the content with unrelated or superfluous information with the goal of making the article longer. Each article should have its own length when solving the particular need the article is targeting. 
  • Keep photos and captions relevant. Include the main keyword from the article in the alt descriptions and captions. Do not force an image into a story. If you can’t find a good image that 100% fits the article, pass along to the content reviewer.

Title & Article Types

Food Health Benefits Articles and Lists

  • Explain the most important nutritional properties and describe how to incorporate the food.
  • Provide any recent, relevant published research to support the article.
  • Caution for moderation, when necessary.
  • Provide a definition for any rare ingredient and some background on its origin.

Potentially Dangerous or Erroneous Titles

  • If a title asks for potentially dangerous advice, provide the reader with evidence-based guidance that will show them that what they are after can potentially harm them. Then recommend safe and sane alternatives for the reader.

    • For example, the title “800 Calorie Diet” would be dangerous for the reader to actually attempt. Our article should explain why this diet would be a bad idea, provide the reasons for that, and then recommend a plan that is healthy but would still help the reader achieve weight loss.

  • If a title asks for the impossible, use the article as an opportunity to educate the reader on the myth they are interested in, and guide them in the right direction.

    • For example, the title “How to Drink Hot Water for Weight Loss” should explain that exclusively hot water can be used to lose weight. It should then cover ways hot water can be integrated into healthy meals, snacks, and beverages to help achieve the reader’s goal.

Simple Titles

  • If a title asks a simple question that can be answered quickly, be sure to explore all angles of the question and provide useful information that the reader will be interested in.

    • For example, the title “Are Bananas Good for Weight Loss?” should answer the question, detail the nutritional information that ties into the question, and then recommend lifestyle tips on using bananas to address the reader’s overall interest in losing weight.

  • For titles that ask for a diet plan tied to a single food item, address any real or “fad diets” the food may be tied to. Once that initial need is addressed, discuss the food’s nutritional properties and how the food can be used in a balanced diet, or in conjunction with foods that compliment it.

    • For example, the title “The Tuna and Water Diet” should address the context around the food and its diet, then move on to additional useful information.

Substitutions

  • Offer the healthier option when providing an alternative ingredient.
  • Highlight whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
  • Explain how the substitutions will be incorporated into the meal/dish.

References

Recommended References

Acceptable sources include published research studies and reputable online and print publications. Here are some good references to consider using:

Blacklisted References for LIVESTRONG.COM Nutrition

  • active.com
  • americanchronicle.com
  • aolhealth.com
  • caloriecount.about.com
  • calorieking.com
  • diet.com
  • doctoroz.com
  • dr.weil.com
  • emedicine.com
  • everydayhealth.com
  • fitsugar.com
  • greatist.com
  • health.msn.com
  • health.yahoo.net
  • healthline.com
  • Ihealthdirectory.com
  • lifescript.com
  • mayoclinic.com
  • mindbodygreen.com
  • medicinenet.com
  • menshealth.com
  • myfitnesspal.com
  • nutritiondata.com
  • prevention.com
  • qualityhealth.com
  • revolutionhealth.com
  • runnersworld.com
  • rxlist.com
  • self.com
  • sparkpeople.com
  • thecaloriecounter.com
  • webmd.com
  • whfoods.com
  • womenshealthmag.com
  • wrongdiagnosis.com
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