If you're tired of "wellness influencers" on social media spreading misinformation about nutrition, exercise, and other aspects of health and wellness, then you should go check out Idrees Mughal. According to his website he is a "UK trained Medical Doctor, with an additional Master's degree in Nutritional Research and is Board-Certified in Lifestyle Medicine." He goes by "Dr. Idz" on social media (he's most active on TikTok) and his mission is to counter medical misinformation with information from actual peer-reviewed research and meta-analyses. On his website, he explains how he got into the debunking business:
A few years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic he very quickly noticed the sheer amount of health misinformation online. On Jan 1st 2021, Dr Idz took it upon himself to directly respond to these creators and to call-out the harmful and inaccurate advice being given to the public. Since then, he has amassed over 1.5 million followers across the Tiktok and Instagram platforms and now gets tagged in over 200 videos a day from followers asking for his input.
Here are some claims by influencers that he's recently addressed: "natural ingredients" are toxic; peanuts are carcinogenic; sucralose damages your DNA; beef causes colon cancer; midsection weight gain is from cortisol; and milk is toxic. Some claims he addresses are blatantly false, and he debunks those outright. For other claims that are sometimes true, or that have aspects of truth, he provides important context to more fully understand the issues at hand.
Dr. Idz recently wrote on his Instagram:
"Start social media" they said… "it'll be fun" they said… 📸💀 Now I find myself swimming upstream in this river of never-ending quackery 🦆 And you know what? I don't care if it's a losing battle and I ain't stopping any time soon. See you muppets in school.
I appreciate his nuanced approach and his ability to translate scientific research for a lay audience. I'm so grateful that he's doing this important work of helping folks recognize misinformation and increase our critical health media literacy. Thanks, Dr. Idz!