One question that often comes up regarding The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Big Food ties is how they affect information put out by the Academy.
Food industry-friendly talking points aside (i.e.: “there are no good or bad foods, just good or bad diets”), what always stands out is the information not shared by the Academy. This is especially more noticeable when one starts looking at other organizations’ work.
Consider, for example, this report from 2011 by The Environmental Working Group, which rightfully calls out the high sugar content of many popular “children’s cereals.” This is an important and relevant report, since children consume substantially more added sugar than is recommended by the likes of the American Heart Association, and also since these cereals are staples for many children (in large part due to relentless advertising).
This is the sort of information we would like the Academy to provide to its members and the general public. Instead — no doubt due to the partnerships the Academy has with Kellogg and General Mills — these are the same cereals one sees promoted at the annual conference, with company reps boasting about the sprinkling of whole grains in their products.
Dietitians should not go to their professional organization’s conference and learn how to essentially market sugary cereal to their patients and clients; instead, they should be informed on why these products are nothing more than hyper-healthwashed and minimally nutritious starts to the day.