Here is an interesting find from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website.
In its “For Professionals” section, there is a list of ten ways dietitians can help improve the health of Americans. Many of the examples make sense: staving off diabetes, increasing access to healthful foods, and receiving counseling on pediatric nutrition.
However, take a look at example number 3:
“You are a marketing manager for a large food company and know consumers’ preference for good-tasting food that is healthy. A registered dietitian nutritionist can make the connection and work with your food scientists to develop new products that will be successful in the marketplace.”
Notice that — for reasons that escape us — this specifically mentions “large” food companies. This example brings to mind the likes of Olestra, Splenda, or healthwashed items like multigrain Pringles and “oatmeal Pop-Tarts” that have oat flour as the eighth or ninth ingredient (after sugar and partially hydrogenated oils). AKA: healthwashed, highly-processed items meant to grab the public’s attention — and wallets — by highlighting a trendy nutrient or ingredient.
When thinking about the various rampant public health problems in our country, is helping Big Food with its innovations really something the Academy considers a pressing issue? As we’ve asked on this page multiple time before, can anyone point us to an example of a food industry ‘innovation’ that has helped improve public health?
We would much rather have seen an example of “you are confused by deceptive marketing of unhealthy foods and want to learn how to truly eat healthfully.”
Let us also point out that we believe in collaboration, and respect and value all our knowledgeable and passionate colleagues in the nutrition and public health field.