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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 fitday.com 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)...how sick is THAT: https://dominosugar.com/media/domino-... 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: http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com...

          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. 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.

                      3. MCF, I am posting a link to add fuel to the fire.
                        I was listening to this on the news, the medical Doctor being interviewed on CBC, did suggest that weight loss is possible from some medications and surgery but that the myths exposed were indeed myths. The above study was funded by big business and pharmaceuticals so once again objectivty is lacking in the health field overall. We all need to be onguard and seek second opinions when we are given "medical" advice.

                        19 Replies
                        1. re: Ruthie789

                          The only second opinion I'm interested in any more is my own, supported by a lot of independent research. :-/

                          My favorite quote from the article: "On the streets of downtown Toronto, one woman said burning calories during sex "depends who's doing all the work."

                            1. re: mcf

                              This story illustrates what doesn't work (and the list of things that doesn't work seems to be a long one).

                              One question... In your studies, have you come across any data which gives "success" rates in clients of RD's who have improved their health (using any metric of choice, like blood sugar, weight, cholesterol) over a long term span (say 5 years)? Or success of specific methods?

                              1. re: firecooked

                                Scucess with RD's? No. And very few diet studies of great duration, but some are out there. For me, the most important thing is clinical outcomes, more than surrogate markers which allow too much over interpretation and subjective analysis. Folks who lose weight, control appetite, blood glucose and feel better and get better in a variety of ways. We can look around us to see what a failure low fat/high carb public policy is.

                                There's quite a lot of study of low fat/low carb diets head to head, for weight loss, or reversal of insulin resistance and PCOS and diabetic complications and lipids improvements and a number of surrogate markers which show that carb restriction is superior.

                                In terms of weight loss diets, results are mixed, but the most important take home message is that weight loss is HARD, maintaining it is harder, in any case. Folks who become very obese aren't like folks who can eat, feel satisfied and not overeat. And some folks gain or maintain obesity on modest food consumption for a variety of biochemical reasons, too.

                                More anecdotal reports than I can count, too, particularly online during the Atkins craze a decade ago. Specifically, sudden resolution of asthma and IBS.

                                The most poignant reports were from morbidly obese folks who, for the first time in their lives, had to try to eat more on Atkins induction because it shut down their appetites so much. And stuff we may not think of, like finally being able to clean oneself after using the toilet, or have sex or even see one's parts, or fit in the car, or romp with a kid, all sorts of indignities visited on folks who thought (and are accused) of themselves as weak, unempowered to control appetite and weight.

                                Duke University has published on the topic, and Mary Gannon and Frank Nuttal are two very good nutrition resaerchers who demonstate benefits across a variety of conditions and with various markers of health.

                                The only reports I've heard from diabetics who've visited RD's have been dastardly and the smarter folks voted with their feet, while they still had them, to save their own lives.

                            2. re: Ruthie789

                              Via Science Daily
                              Vegetarianism Can Reduce Risk of Heart Disease by Up to a Third
                              This based on data from "European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study". Study was published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

                              1. re: paulj

                                Yes, I agree food can heal, and can prevent disease. Ideally our food sources must be of the very best quality, eliminating additves, chemicals etc.,, a wholesome diet with exercise. Thank you for posting those links.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  There have been numerous studies and the only reliable positive has been reduction of *ischemic* heart disease, but no reduction in overall CVD outcomes nor all cause mortality.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    I too believe that diet and health are closely related. But these types of studies always seem to be lacking... is the key factor that vegetarians just ate more vegetables? Or didn't eat processed meat? ... i.e. something that is really not essential to being a vegetarian, but another underlying cause (or causes).

                                    1. re: firecooked

                                      And why is "red meat" a marker for buns, fries, Coke and hot apple pie with that? Yes, there are so many variables not controlled for in the data, like the profound metabolic influences of what's eaten with the "indicted" food.

                                    2. re: paulj

                                      Another study summary
                                      Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

                                      This study in Spain (5 years) compares 3 diets:
                                      - a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil,
                                      - a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or
                                      - a control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat).

                                      Among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events."

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        One of the things the researchers stated in an interview is left out of many news reports; the group with the best results was told to restrict starchy carbs.

                                        30% reduction in CVD risk is an impressive result. But without restricting fat or meat, my calculated CVD risk dropped from the very highest decile more than 50% within the first month, based upon lipids and glucose markers years ago. And my heredity is death from CVD before late middle age.

                                        1. re: paulj


                                          The Science Daily summary of this article. Note also the 'related studies' sidebar.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            Wonder if anyone has gotten off their meds or actually REVERSED their CVD by substituting olive oil for saturated fats/trans fats? Olive oil is 14% saturated fat by the way. They have with a plant-based diet...and FWIW here's Dr. Esselstyn's response to that recent Mediterranean diet report in the news this week: http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet...

                                            1. re: Val

                                              That's what's so weird about their description of the Mediterranean diet; they don't mention all the lamb, full fat yogurt, and most of the news reports have excluded the restriction of starches, the most important atherogenic factor in nutrition. Plus, they promote more fruit than veggies, which translates to higher sugar. I think the CVD reduction would have been higher if that were the other way around.

                                              I can't tell you about my arteries, but I did reverse diabetic kidney and nerve damage, ht and dyslipidemia with diet alone, no meds. Metabolic syndrome is the highest risk factor for CVD. In contrast, a plant based diet led to incredibly rapid development of severe metabolic syndrome and the ills listed above in my case.

                                              Also interesting to note that red meat has more poly and monounsaturates than saturated fat and that grass fed meat has a very heart healthy profile. But important to note that saturated fat plays no causative role in CVD, and a recent meta study confirms what lipids researchers have said for decades now.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                mcf, I respect your diabetes situation...but I can tell you about MY arteries...had my carotid artery scan 2 years ago at age 53...ZERO PLAQUE BURDEN...and I am not quite 100% plant strong because I include fatty fish 2 or 3 times each week but due to colon cancer in my family, plants are my friend. Heart disease will not "get me"...something else might (hopefully old age) but I give Docs Esselstyn and others KUDOS for saving lives from the #1 killer in the U.S which is heart disease...Bill Clinton reversed his own heart disease by eliminating animal products...now it might not translate to YOUR diabetic situation but you cannot negate the powerful testimony by Bill Clinton and others who have overcome heart disease with plants, just saying.

                                                1. re: Val

                                                  Not exactly. First of all, Bill and Hillary have aged about twenty years in the last 2 or 3 on that diet and Hillary has about doubled in size and Chelsea is on her way. Bill's face is more inflamed than ever, bright red when makeup is absent. And they put him on a boatload of statins, not just diet. Aides have stated that mentally, he's not been as sharp, and that's likely due to statins, but may also be glycemic diet related. He's never looked better than when he was on South Beach, actually.

                                                  You're relying on surrogate markers, here, not all cause mortality and other clinical outcomes, including quality of life.

                                                  Eliminating fat and protein, the only macronutrients you die from if you have a shortage, is a bad bet, but your body, your science experiment. :-)

                                                  And as I've mentioned before when folks try to marginalize my points by mentioning my own health, I have been reading all the research, not popular articles and authors, for over a decade across many scientific and clinical disciplines. I have an interest in public health and in the terrible consequences we are paying for as a society, of fat and animal protein restriction public health reccos.

                                                  Doing more of what's failed is the definition of insanity. We have conclusive study demonstrating what some of us have known all along; dietary fat, including saturated, does not promote CVD, triglycerides are the single most predictive marker, and they are raised by excess post meal glucose (from carbs, usually) being converted to fat for storage.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    Wow, and then we have the Okinawans...who use meat as a condiment which means "sparingly" and they live long lives; what DO they eat? Sweet potatoes, rice...some fish, lots of vegetables--hell, look it up...cultures that do NOT die of heart disease are mostly devoid of animal foods, plain and simple...if you don't reckon the Clintons, then how do you explain cultures that live longer and DO NOT eat red meat? It's a fact that as populations who migrate to cities pretty much all over the world will increase their disease numbers--meaning that they start to *include* meats and processed foods in their diet.

                                                    1. re: Val

                                                      The Okinawans specialty is fatty pork, too. But you cannot separate traditional life style and philosophy, which keep their lives extraordinarily stress free from their longevity. Their diet is a fraction of what goes into that result.

                                                      You and I are working from very different sources of information, I'll leave it at that.

                                                      When someone tells me "it's a fact" as if there's ONE TRUE FACT (and it's not and there isn't) I know the discussion is over.

                                                      Folks who move west and eat meat are eating it with buns, French fries, Coke and apple pies and you blame the meat?????


                                                      The Clintons look just dreadful It's a shame they've been so misled by diet and drug sellers. Just look at them.

                                                      1. re: mcf


                                                        Science, Pseudoscience, Nutritional Epidemiology, and Meat

                                    3. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/...
                                      Funding food science and nutrition research: financial conflicts and scientific integrity

                                      "1) conduct or sponsor research that is factual, transparent, and designed objectively, and, according to accepted principles of scientific inquiry, the research design will generate an appropriately phrased hypothesis and the research will answer the appropriate questions, rather than favor a particular outcome;

                                      2) require control of both study design and research itself to remain with scientific investigators;

                                      3) not offer or accept remuneration geared to the outcome of a research project;

                                      4) ensure, before the commencement of studies, that there is a written agreement....

                                      5) require, in publications and conference presentations, full signed disclosure of all financial interests;

                                      6) not participate in undisclosed paid authorship arrangements in industry-sponsored publications or presentations;

                                      7) guarantee accessibility to all data and control of statistical analysis by investigators and appropriate auditors/reviewers;

                                      8) require that academic researchers, when they work in contract research organizations (CRO) or act as contract researchers, make clear statements of their affiliation; and require that such researchers publish only under the auspices of the CRO."

                                      1. MCF, this was in the Globe and Mail today. It questions the food pyramid to which many adhere to. Link below:

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                          Yes, the tide has been turning, but the lobbyist money is all arrayed against it, so it's slow. Thanks for posting.

                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                            "Prof. Ludwig says foods that are closer to their natural state, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, require additional work to digest and metabolize, so that the net energy they impart is less than the Atwater system would suggest. Most nutritionists would agree."

                                            I remember wondering about how calorie numbers were derived after hearing about the Harvard paleo-cooking idea on NPR a year or two ago.

                                            "Giving Mini Burgers To Mice Reveals The Good And Bad Of Cooking Meat"

                                            "Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter"

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              The other issue is that the fate, or effect of calories is determined by the individual's metabolic/endocrine status, and that is wildly variable.

                                              So while eventually, calories do matter, they matter differently depending on where they come from and depending on who's eating them. :-)