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Jan 26, 2013 08:34 AM

Influence peddling by food manufacturers leading dietitian and nutritionist recccos

Some of the report’s findings include:

Registered dietitians can earn continuing education units from Coca-Cola’s “Beverage Institute” to learn more about “ urban myths” concerning sugar and additives.
Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, can pay $50,000 to host a two-hour “nutrition symposium” at the Academy’s annual meeting.
Companies on the Academy’s list of approved continuing education providers also includesKraft Foods, Nestlé, and PepsiCo.
The Corn Refiners Association (lobbyists for high fructose corn syrup) sponsored three “expo impact” sessions at the 2012 annual meeting.

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  1. A difficult area here. Just because coke want to put forth its side of the debate doesn't make them bad or the dieticians corrupt. The anti corn syrup forces are nit bound to be truthful and present lots of trash science along with the well done stuff. The dieticians have to think about what they hear just like the rest of us

    7 Replies
    1. re: sal_acid

      So you equate industry lobbying with scientific arguments based upon research with no financial stake in the outcome?

      Dietitians don't have to be individually corrupt, just trained in a system that is. I think you're being too literal here.

      1. re: mcf

        MCF I respect your point of view and am interested in how you have been able to curtail your diabetes and how disciplined you must be. I do however have much respect for dieticians, knowing how extensively they have studied Food Science and nutrition and how it is really difficult to get accreditation to become a registered dietician. The funding in hospitals does have a great influence on approach.

        1. re: Ruthie789

          Dietitians do not study science, they study industry funded conclusions. I know folks who've gotten dietetic degrees who are aware of that and eschew everything they were taught as baseless. Wish more of them were less sheep like.

          The way I reversed my diabetic kidney and nerve damage and other complications beginning dramatically, literally overnight was to stop eating starches and sugars, though years later I occasionally have some of each, I never eat a starch meal or side dish at a meal. I replaced them with proteins and fat and piles of non starchy vegetables.

          If you were to look at my plate, it would look almost all carbs, but from non starchy veggies and salads, lots of colors and types of preparation, and a serving of meat and or dairy, grass fed when we eat at home, which we do more than ever now.

          For many years, I documented every crumb of food I ate on and discovered that the very best breakdown for my optimal diabetic control and health is 50-55%% fat, 30-35% protein, and 10-15% carbs from non starchy sources. Typically, 1/3 to 1/2 the fat is saturated from meat and dairy sources. This has also lowered my heart disease risk (using the Harvard risk calculator and other research findings) from the top decile to below average. That took mere weeks after my dietary 180 turnabout.

          My kidney function is perfect after over a decade of damage, I no longer have the severe peripheral neuropathies that came with following a low fat, high carb diet like that recommended by dietitians. You know what they bring diabetics for breakfast in the hospital due to industry guidelines? Juice, cereal, toast... pancakes with syrup... even those on dialysis, despite the fact that even end stage renal failure responds to low carb diet.

          1. re: mcf

            MCF dieticians do study science. I was in the Home Economics field in 1981, you must take a food science lab, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, introduction to the fundamentals of nutrition and how food is absorbed and digested and the following year human nutrition. A registered dietician must get an internship in a hospital in order to get accredited. However, I agree with you that there is an agenda behind what is prescribed and diagnosed in hospitals, not very objective in any medical field. By the way biochemistry did me in, I had to bow it as it was too much for me.

            1. re: mcf

              I can attest....while in the hospital AFTER A STROKE (!) this summer, my Type II diabetic husband was brought french toast and syrup (faux syrup, but full sugar/HFCS). When I flipped out and told the girl who brought the breakfast to take it back she said "We know he's DII, that's why we brought him only one syrup"

              (Smacks forehead)

              1. re: pinehurst

                You just cannot make this $hit up!

          2. re: mcf

            +1 on the "trained in a system that is".

            "Dietitians don't have to be individually corrupt, just trained in a system that is."

        2. Yes, these companies are interested parties, so sponsorship of education and research is an appearance of conflict of interest. On the other hand, there are a lot of "urban myths" about food being bandied about, and I can't fault the companies for countering them.

          3 Replies
          1. re: GH1618

            One must read the research, not just the media stated conclusions to know the difference. Or the researchers; the data and methodology often don't support their conclusions, either.

            Those sugar conserns and HFCS concerns aren't urban myths at all. If anythng, they're understated, from my perspective.

            1. re: mcf

              I saw that article the other day on FB from a few RD's whom I like...and he also posted this today...Domino Sugar Co. a "strategic partner" for the Am Diabetes Assoc (I believe you are not a fan of ADA, mcf) sick is THAT: the fox is *totally* in the henhouse on this one too.

              1. re: Val

                Hard to be a fan of an organization that, while sponsored by Cadbury Schweppes and General Mills and drug companies, recommended that diabetics stop avoiding sugar when they found out it was no worse for diabetics than grains are, instead of the obvious need to recommend restriction of grains!

                And who, in an unprecedented move, posted, then disclaimed, then buried this article on its web site after having funded the study:

          2. Thanks for posting this.
            It is important for folks to know that they perhaps should not just "nod along" when an RD (or even an MD!) recommends something. In this day and age there may perhaps be other forces, i.e. advertising / incentives, at work.

            3 Replies
            1. re: pedalfaster

              Yes, and the incentives are on both sides of any food controversy.

              1. re: GH1618

                Not so. If you doubt it, look at all the recommndations running counter to what good scientific evidence would dictate. And look at the clniical results all around you.

              2. re: pedalfaster

                I totally agree with you. In Canada, the pharmaceutical companies have such great influence especially in the Universities, objectivity is questionable these days.

              3. The original comment has been removed
                1. Marion Nestle, whom I respect and admire, published her thoughts on this the other day...

                  There are additional links to some of her other related posts at the bottom of the page if anyone cares to read further. And FWIW, she & I share the same position on the general policies of the AND, and she articulates my own reasons for choosing to forgo dietetic credentialing very accurately.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I am also wary of diet experts who have no foundation in nutrition. Basically anyone can publish a book claiming they have the next solution to better health and weight loss.

                    1. re: Ruthie789

                      I'm puzzled - what does your comment have to do with Marion Nestle?

                      1. re: Ruthie789

                        Goodhealthgourmet, my comment was in response to the last part of your thread about forgoing credentials. I do agree that there are certainly many knowledgeable people out there who have an intense knowledge of nutrition as can be seen in these threads. Others who proclaim to be knowledgeable are not qualified to give advice and they write books to make money. I also agree that research and approach is biased based on who gives the funding. This approach is problematic in North America but even worse in in third world countries. One of these majour companies brought in baby formula years ago and discouraged mothers to breast feed, it was catastrophic and horrible in terms of the impact on starvation.

                        1. re: Ruthie789

                          That wasn't a comment about forgoing *credentials," it was about forgoing *dietetic* credentials. IE, worthless ones.

                          1. re: Ruthie789

                            Ah, okay. I wasn't sure if you were implying that she herself was a hack, which she most certainly isn't :) The RD credential doesn't mean you're an expert, and the lack thereof doesn't mean you're not. I have a master's degree in nutritional science though the RD only requires a bachelor's, and I personally made a conscious choice not to go the RD route because I don't subscribe blindly to the AND's policies and procedure, and I didn't want to be beholden to those practices. I graduated first in my class, I was one of only two selected by the honor society for academic excellence, and the department asked me to stay on and teach there (unfortunately I had to move away to deal with personal matters). Yet I'm not an RD.

                            I'm not disagreeing with you that there are plenty of unqualified people out there claiming to be experts, I just don't think that one particular credential makes you an expert.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              If you read above I also studied nutrition but could not handle the science aspect of it. It is a very competitive field to be in so if you are qualified as a registered dietician it days take tremendous effort to get there. I do not dispute your point of view at all, I tend to think the entire medical field is tied to industry. At the time I studied, food and its impact on health and how good nutrition could change situations was scoffed at. I think we have to give some consideration to all those in the nutrition science field for changing this point of view.

                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I can't find anything in that summary to disagree with, though I'm no admirer of her positions on diet.

                          1. re: mcf

                            It is clear from your posts that you are coming from a very specific perspective based on your own health issues, but food scientists like Marion Nestle have to look at the topic more broadly and draw general conclusions.

                            I am not defending Coke, HFCS, etc., or the food industry's influence on research, but I don't think carbs and sugar are the big evils for everyone that they are to you and other diabetics and it's okay to acknowledge that even when it's "the enemy" funding the research.

                            1. re: Isolda

                              You could not be more wrong. I come at this from a public health perspective and based upon assiduous and continuing close perusal of the related peer reviewed science. My own personal experience serves to reinforce the lessons learned there, only.

                              I don't mean any disrespect, but I don't think you've made serious independent evaluation of the scientific literature across disciplines in deciding that's what you "think."

                              Marion Nestle has unsubstantiated positions against salt intake at ridiculously low levels, solid fats that have never been objectively demonstrated to have any causal effect leading to disease, and the incredibly ignorant statement that eating less for weight loss "works every time."

                              That's not just more general, it's evidence of a failure of scientific acuity, IMO.