While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics continues to defend its partnerships with the likes of Coca-Cola, Pepsico, General Mills, Kellogg’s, and McDonald’s, it is encouraging to see attempts at restricting Big Food and Big Soda’s mammoth power.
As this Food Navigator USA article details, Mexico recently announced that it will restrict television advertising on high-calorie food and soda.
“All told, 40% of commercials for soft drinks, confectionery products and chocolates will be pulled from TV in favor of products that ‘meet nutritional standards’, according to the Mexican health ministiry. The ads will be banned on network and cable TV between 2:30 and 7:30 pm on weekdays and between 7:30 am and 7:30 pm on weekends. Restrictions will also be imposed on similar ads shown in movie theaters.”
While the concept of ‘nutritional standards’ can get problematic (i.e.: nutritionally empty cereals like Lucky Charms or Trix can meet those standards since they are low in fat and have a pinch of added fiber thrown in), we nevertheless believe it is important to minimize industry’s heavy marketing of unhealthy products.
As Dr. Marion Nestle states in the article: “Mexico has a publicly funded national health system that will go bankrupt if diabetes can’t be controlled.”
Dietitians For Professional Integrity Strategic Director Andy Bellatti is also quoted in the piece. While he wishes the ban were in effect during primetime evening hours, he believes that “any policy that tries to limit marketing in any capacity is fantastic.” He also adds that “we are way overdue, in this country in particular, to have a conversation on the relentless marketing and advertising the food industry employs.”
Could the United States implement a similar policy?
As Dr. Nestle explains, “not with this Congress and Supreme Court. As long as both continue to consider corporations to be ‘persons’ and commercial speech to be covered by the First Amendment.”
It also doesn’t help when companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo enjoy the health halo of being ‘partners’ with organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.