Was your nutritionist trained by Coca-Cola?

ANDAccording to a truly horrifying report released last week by public health lawyer Michele Simon, the information you’re getting from your RD may have made its way to you via Coca-Cola. Seriously.

The 50-page document, which was first reported in the New York Times, details how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, is in the pocket of the most unhealthy food manufacturers out there, and it consistently allows their influence to affect the information it provides to its members.

This is especially scary since AND is the organization that certifies nutritionists as RDs and is in charge of continuing education courses and credits for these professionals.

Want to know more? Here are the three worst highlights from Simon’s report:

1. AND’s most loyal sponsors are the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg, and the National Dairy Council. Goodbye China Study, hooray processed foods!

2. Companies that AND has approved as continuing education providers include Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Nestle. Why is this so awful? One session, sponsored by Coca-Cola, taught that aspartame is completely safe; another said that sugar has no impact on behavior in children.

3. At AND’s 2012 annual meeting, its largest gathering of the year, lobbyists for high fructose corn syrup (The Corn Refiners Association) sponsored three sessions for RDs. At another AND nutrition symposium, a “Kids Eat Right Breakfast Series” was sponsored by Kellogg and Pepsi. (Who needs milk on your Froot Loops when you can use soda?)

Here’s hoping the report will pressure AND to clean up its act, so it can do a better job of helping everyone else clean up their diets. —Lisa Elaine Held

Want more info? Download the full report here.

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5 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. January 29th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    While I share in the sentiment that the co-opting of the AND by corporate sponsorships is disheartening, I know that many RD’s who are members of the AND do not agree with their choices. The questionable partnership between the AND and Big Food is damaging to the credibility of AND members.

    Many RD’s are pushing for change, such as those in the AND’s Hunger and Environmental Nutritional (HEN) practice group. The majority of the members disapprove of corporate sponsorship and joined this group in order to challenge the system from within. http://bit.ly/14sA16o

  2. March 11th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Doesn’t surprise me one bit, and no different than the pharmaceuticals sponsoring big studies with their hired doctors and scientists. It will never change because the game is far too big with too much money being made.

  3. March 12th, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Nice post appreciative.

    Pure edge nutrition

  4. March 14th, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    It is disheartening to see reports like this and then see most people believe what they are being told.

    Thank god we have the internet now, so everyone interested in changing their life can find the best solution for themselves easier.

  5. March 20th, 2013 at 5:45 am

    This report is a little scary. It is very much like the pharmaceutical companies sponsoring all sorts of things for doctors so they will prescribe their products instead of cheaper alternatives.

    We the little guys will always lose in this game. I totally agree with Elke about the Internet. It has become a little easier to spot these relations, but you still have to keep your wits about you and always have your eyes open.

    Sugar has no effect in children? pfffft!

    I enjoy a Coke once in a while, but the next one will not taste so sweet with this in mind!

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