Ok, just finished my longest blog post ever, and am reading one of my favorite online magazines and this is on the front page. Of course I have to comment! It seems that this California Dietetic Association annual conference was sponsored by the big names in nutritional foods: McDonalds, Walmart, the Corn Refiners Association. Perhaps these names seem out of place, but no!
Here is a sample of one of the breakout sessions, where there was a great deal of ‘Truthy’ information to put out…
I attended “Sweeteners in Schools: Keeping Science First in a Controversial Discussion.” Sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association, whose members produce and sell high-fructose corn syrup, it included a panel composed of three of the trade group’s representatives. The panelists bemoaned some schools’ decision to remove chocolate milk from their cafeteria menus. Later, one panelist said that she’d been dismayed to learn that some schools had banned sugary treats from classroom Valentine’s Day parties, which “could be a teachable moment for kids about moderation.” The moderator nodded in agreement, and added, “The bottom line is that all sugars contain the same calories, so you can’t say that there is one ingredient causing the obesity crisis.” The claim was presented as fact, despite mounting scientific evidence that high-fructose corn syrup prompts more weight gain than other sugars.
As you know from reading my blog previously, a chocolate milk serving contains as much sugar as THREE SNICKERS BARS. The decision to not offer it to children as a lunchtime choice is a very necessary defensive maneuver. Would these same panelists like to see Snickers Bars offered right next to the school lunch, that the kids could take as many as they want to fill up on?
So, if you are still reading this, go to the article. Apparently, you can learn all you need to know about food by listening exclusively to the people that make it. No conflict of interest is going to affect the tone of the panel discussions, right?
Andy Bellatti, a dietitian and member of AND, recalls his shock the first time he attended the organization’s national conference, in 2012. “I could get continuing education credits for literally sitting in a room and listening to Frito-Lay tell me that Sun Chips are a good way to meet my fiber needs,” he says. “I thought, ‘No wonder Americans are overweight and diabetic. The gatekeepers for our information about food are getting their information from junk-food companies.'”
Of course, all of the dieticians are not made members of the corporate food mafia and tried to do something about it…
They worried that if word got out that dietitians’ professional organization had been bought out by food corporations, the profession would lose credibility. So Bellatti and several other members founded Dietitians for Professional Integrity, consisting of academy members who want to change the sponsorship policies. They lobbied the leadership, but nothing changed—except for the rules about photography at the annual conference. The following year, when Bellatti took out his camera in the exhibition hall, he was told that photographs were prohibited.
See, change! Now you can’t take any pictures at the conference, and outside journalists are discouraged from attending, lest we all get the wrong idea about where the dietetic associations true interests lie. The real science is out there, but you may not get it from your dietitian. You may have to find it from places where the corporate money doesn’t have such a negative effect, like the NIH, or the CDC, where they have to deal with the consequences (health wise) of the pis poor choices we are being convinced to make.
Watch ‘Weight of the Nation’. It will change your life. Then, of course, change your life.