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Is The Dietitians’ Trade Group in Bed with the Junk Food Industry?

The largest trade group of nutrition professionals—the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—has a serious credibility problem.

The Academy represents 74,000 dietitians in the United States, and its mission is to promote optimal nutrition and well being for all people. But according to an explosive report released by Food Revolution Summit speaker Michele Simon and her organization, the industry watchdog Eat Drink Politics, the Academy is sponsored by folks like ConAgra, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Kellogg’s, Mars, and the National Dairy Council.

AND

Some Academy sponsors can become an “Academy Partner,” which entitles them to “educate” nutrition professionals about the health benefits of their products, co-sponsor events, and conduct educational sessions at meetings.  They also can use the Academy’s logo in marketing campaigns.

The report from Eat Drink Politics details how registered dietitians can earn continuing education units from Coca-Cola, in which they learn that sugar is not a problem for children. In addition to Coca-Cola, companies on the Academy’s list of approved continuing education providers include Kraft Foods, Nestlé, and PepsiCo.

Despite its enormous clout, and its nutritional advocacy mission, the Academy has thus far refused to endorse some of the steps that many experts agree could improve public health and expand health freedom, including limits on soft drink sizes, taxes on sugary sodas, or the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Could there be any connection between the millions of dollars in sponsorship the Academy receives from junk food manufacturers, and a seeming lack of initiative on behalf of the public welfare?

Fortunately, not all dietitians pass on the propaganda of the Academy’s sponsors. There are many hard-working and dedicated dietitians who base the guidance they offer their clients on the latest learnings of nutritional science. One of the inspiring dietitians of our times is bestselling author, plant-strong nutrition expert, and 2013 Food Revolution Summit speaker Brenda Davis, R.D,.

Brenda notes that many dietitians feel uncomfortable having their trade association intertwined with the processed food industry, and references a survey which found that 80% of them feel that the Academy is endorsing corporate sponsors and their products when it allows their sponsorship.

She comments: “It’s time for us to base the nutritional guidance we offer, and the policies we support, on what we know is best for the health and wellness of a population that is riddled with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The science is clear: a whole foods, plant-strong diet that is low in sugar and processed foods, and high in nutrients and fresh foods, can help you thrive, and can dramatically reduce your risk of diet and lifestyle-induced diseases.”

Inspired by Michele Simon’s report, and fed up with their association’s junk food ties, in early 2013 a group of dietitians launched Dietitians for Professional Integrity. Their goal is to advocate for more ethical, socially responsible, and relevant corporate sponsorships within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  More than 6,000 members have already joined.

For more on Eat Drink Politics, or to sign up their informative newsletter, click here.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. How can we trust and beleive big companies that are killing us with their bad food and ingreidients. Sugar is sugar and it is destoying our health. Our bodies our pancreas was not made to handle all this abuse from fake foods to foods laden with chemicals to foods loaded with too much sugar and salt. No wonder our clinics and hospitals keep expanding to handle all the sick people. Most Americans don't know how to eat healthy. If you are confused I would love to help you with this. Just call to schedule an appointment with me 507-359-4374.

  2. Please keep this information coming. It's very hard to fight these massive corporations. When it comes to profits there are too few moral minded leaders.

  3. Sounds a lot like our USDA and FDA to me… more special interest groups and its all about profits before health…It's interesting to me that these companies are touting sugar is okay since they have taken High Fructose Corn Syrup out of their product.. Really? Sugar is Sugar.

  4. Unfortunately this too doesn't surprise me but by educating and communicating with one another we can make smarter choices in products we purchase. Read your labels and country of origin before you buy it. You have a choice so make it a healthy one for you and your family. Don't assume anything.

  5. Was. Dennis Kucinich. But the Republicans made sure that he got voted out with the new Ohio redistricting. Gerrymandering of course. Politicians with integrity either get railoraded out or voted out or worse…

  6. GMO's ar not the answer to the worlds poor & hungry. They are privately owned & sterile.This is a formula for disaster!
    No GMO's!

  7. “Is The Dietitians’ Trade Group in Bed with the Junk Food Industry?

    | Food Revolution Network BlogFood Revolution Network Blog” ended up being a splendid article,

    can not wait to read more of ur blog posts. Time to squander some

    time online lmao. Thanks for the post -Elwood

  8. I don't think government regulation on drink sizes or taxes on sugar supports freedom. People should be able to make their own choices in what they eat, healthy or not. We don't need anymore "Nanny State". Follow the money….And, don't put your trust in govenrment! Do your own investigating!

  9. It is really good to know that there are highly qualified dietitians who can help us with our need to stay healthy. Hence, it is important for us to work only with the professionals.

  10. What's this 'plant-strong' business.

    Did you 'Dietitians' NOT watch Dr. Oz – featuring Neal Barnard where he Clearly Stated –

    Meat

    Dairy

    Fish

    Causes Alzheimers

    Dr. Oz kept repeating incredulously

    'Why hasn't this been brought to our attention– why aren't we aware of this"???

    BECAUSE everything is muted down for the greed machine.

    Doctors take I think it's ONE DAY of nutritional education – the rest is how to push drugs on patients. Don't know how much nutrition dietitians take or understand. Now I hear that most of them are being bought out.

    Check out the vegan lifestyle. It is pure, clean, kind to animals AND your body and your health.

    • Meat fish and dairy don't cause Alzheimers. They was meat fish and dairy are raised and processed might. People have eating meat and fish for a millenia and didn't have Alzheimers. You can be a vegetarian or a vegan for whatever reason you choose. But don't tell me it will do this our that to me or anyone else.
      The chemicals that are fed to the animals do more harm than the animals themselves.

  11. Is this the group that had McDonald's supply free lunches for their delegates? I read an article about a convention of dieticians where this was the case, and there was one woman who really took issue with it and was asked to sit on the planning committee for the next convention, but she felt she was being co-opted, not listened to, so after consideration she turned down the so-called 'opportunity'.

  12. Just checked. It IS the group! (see my post below). Here is the quote from Tara, a dietician, "I was all set to attend this conference when I realized lunch is served by McDonald’s. Seriously? What is this about? As a registered dietitian that encourages people every day to make healthy food choices, avoid fast food and improve their eating habits, how big of a hypocrite does that make us to be served McDonald’s at our conference?"

  13. Is this the group that had McDonald's supply free lunches for their delegates? I read an article about a convention of dieticians where this was the case, and there was one woman who really took issue with it and was asked to sit on the planning committee for the next convention, but she felt she was being co-opted, not listened to, so after consideration she turned down the so-called 'opportunity'.

  14. Just checked. It IS the group! (see my post below). Here is the quote from Tara, a dietician, "I was all set to attend this conference when I realized lunch is served by McDonald’s. Seriously? What is this about? As a registered dietitian that encourages people every day to make healthy food choices, avoid fast food and improve their eating habits, how big of a hypocrite does that make us to be served McDonald’s at our conference?"

  15. Greed, corruption, personal gain? Naïveté? We must start teaching our very young children so they grow up knowing the truth and the facts about food.

  16. When elder sister (I'm vegan, younger sister is pescatarian) had gastric bypass surgery, she had to go to a dietician for "advice," which included using calorie-free sweeteners like aspartame. Yuck.

  17. Unfortunately, many well meaning organizations have ties to corporate entities, through funding, which essentially means 'influence' on actions. The Academy represents 74,000 dietitians in the United States, and its mission is to promote optimal nutrition and well being for all people, but when money talks, the people get duped into hearing unhealthy messages about food quality.

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