Words that describe something, adjectives and adverbs, are often used to deliberately distort information and persuade you.

To give an example, those who are pushing the currently trendy Plant-Based diet (essentially veganism rebranded), will make claims like “green vegetables are rich in protein”, and then present the protein content data for a list of green vegetables.

While it’s probably correct to claim that, say, spinach has 2.9g of protein per 100g, calling this a “rich” source is completely misleading. For starters, compared to other foods such as meat, spinach has only about 1/10th the amount of protein per gram (chicken 31g/100g, turkey 27g/100g, beef 26g/100g, parmesan cheese 38g/100g, cheddar cheese 25g/100g, etc.). Even a Snickers bar has more protein than spinach, with 7g/100g.

Compared to most other foods, leafy greens are relatively low in protein, lower than white bread, and close to that of white rice.

Quantity of protein aside, the quality of protein found in leaves is lower than that of meat sources (as measured by DIAAS), so more vegetable protein has to be eaten to provide the same advantage relative to animal protein.

Finally, people seldom eat 100g of spinach in one sitting, whereas a meal consisting of meat may have much more than 100g of meat.

Words like “rich in” and “high in”, or “fast” and “rapidly” are just examples of the words constantly bounded around to skew the truth, and to persuade people to support a stance that the data itself does not justify.

When someone is trying to convince you that a given number is significant, a good tip is to ask yourself: compared to what? Always look for at least one other number for comparison.