The December 2014 issue of Today’s Dietitian includes an interview with nutritionist Dr. Andrew Weil, who shares his vision for dietitians’ role in public health.
Three of Dr. Weil’s statements especially caught our eye:
- “The dietitian field has been somewhat dominated by those who are mostly tied to food industry. There’s a new generation of RDs who really get it; they’re eager for new information. Still, it’s a challenge. I gave a keynote talk at the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ meeting about eight years ago in Anaheim, [California]. I saw dietitians carrying tote bags advertising an artificial sweetener. This breaks a connection between nutrition and health, because of significant influence from industry on nutrition information.”
- “Dietitians need to really inform themselves about nutrition consensus and have good references at hand to support what they say. Give out good messages. For example, I hear some RDs say there are no good and bad foods, but that’s wrong. Margarine is bad. Processed foods are bad.”
- “You need to be cautious about accepting financial support from certain industries, such as the soda industry. And it’s not good to be toting 10,000 tote bags at your conference advertising artificial sweeteners.”
Precisely. Anemic health messages and cozy relationships with the likes of Coca-Cola have eroded our reputation — not just among the general public, but among other health professionals as well. Time to hit the reset button.