Here is a most interesting “Friday Flashback”.
In this article from 2007, author Jacob Wheeler discusses the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (or the American Dietetic Association, as it was known at the time) and its sponsors.
This piece is more evidence that these Big Food ties drag the Registered Dietitian credential through the mud; as long as these partnerships are in place, we can only expect the entire dietitian community — even those of us who do not agree with them — to be (rightfully) seen as pawns of the food industry.
We don’t understand how the Academy can express so much concern about the RD credential not being taken seriously all while publicly expressing its pride in having Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and McDonald’s as its partners.
We were very intrigued by this tidbit:
“One of those sponsors, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), recently released Alli, the first over-the-counter diet pill to gain approval from the Food & Drug Administration and promoted at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. GSK launched a “Meet Alli” tour last year in malls nationwide, where dietitians offered consultation and free Alli pills for six months to weight-conscious shoppers.”
Why was a weight-loss drug promoted at AND’s conference? Here’s a clue:
“Why, then, was a diet pill promoted at the ADA’s annual keynote event when the most important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to eat right (the ADA’s website, after all, is www.eatright.org)? And how did “the nation’s food and nutrition experts” stray from promoting the fruits, vegetables and whole grains featured on the covers of their books? Could it be related to the more than $10,000 that GSK contributed to ADA as a corporate sponsor within the last year?”
The fact that absolutely nothing has changed in six years shows a troubling degree of denialism from the vast majority of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ executive leadership (there are a few individuals in there advocating for systemic changes, but they face a steep uphill battle).
We once again ask — what, exactly, has come out of all this “sitting at the table” with the food industry? It seems to us that any positive changes in the realm of public health nutrition can be attributed to policy-based initiatives which the food industry has had zero say in.