The lines between science and marketing can be blurrier than most people realize.
In this Huffington Blog post, DFPI co-founder and strategic director Andy Bellatti details how the food industry has expertly managed to co-opt health professionals in order to give its public relations messaging a more scientific spin — useful for communications to both the general public and other health professionals.
“The real danger here is that industry knows exactly how to sweet-talk health professionals – and their respective organizations – into joining their ranks in order to be “part of the solution.” Rather than truthfully state that doctors and dietitians simply help a company acquire that highly sought-after health halo, industry instead talks about the need to “work together” (while following industry’s rules, of course) and “offer healthy choices” (these choices are more accurately described as “less unhealthy,” and are usually an afterthought when it comes to marketing),” Bellatti writes.
The post also analyzes a “benefits of cereal fact sheet” put out by General Mills’ Bell Institute to demonstrate how information is spun in such a way to make highly processed, minimally nutritious products look significantly more healthy than they are. These fact sheets, by the way, are often revered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as examples of trusted and sound science.