Today’s statement of concern comes from Betsy Cashen, RD. This statement was originally sent as a letter to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Director of Member Benefits.
“I have been an RD and a member of the Academy since 1986, for my entire 26 year career. My interests and my work are in the field of integrative and functional medicine.
I was in attendance at the founding meeting of the Nutrition in Complementary Care (NCC, now renamed DIFM — Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine) practice group at the annual meeting held in Boston many years ago. I recall the feeling of great relief and satisfaction that this new Dietetic Practice Group could exist and find support within our organization.
Over the years I have had growing concerns about how the food industry (including the fast food/ junk food giants) have had influence over the policies, recommendations and statements of the Academy.
With the financial support provided by these food corporations, I question whether the AND can truly adhere to its scientific rigor. For example, when the makers of aspartame are one of the financial contributors to the “Aspartame Analysis Team” for AND’s own Evidence Analysis Library (EAL), that is a clear conflict of interest. And when Coca-Cola is a financial contributor to the “Hydration Evidence Analysis Team”, it is more of the same. I cannot trust the scientific rigor of AND’s EAL knowing this as background.
The Academy needs to address the flaws in the current sponsorship model if they are to gain the trust of RD’s like myself. I cannot support the efforts of the Academy due to its partnerships with corporate sponsors that sell junk food, genetically modified foods, and non-nutritive foods. It makes it appear that the Academy supports all of these less-than healthy foods too.
I will not be renewing my membership with the Academy for these reasons. I regret that my own professional organization has so alienated others like myself, to the point that there is an ever-growing vocal contingent of RDs sharing their concerns on social media. I am thankful that these RDs are willing to devote time and resources to uncovering important background information about the Academy.”