Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Corruption


{Photo by Andy Bellatti, taken at the exhibit hall of the 2012 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics FNCE conference}

When I was in college, I was a Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) intern  at the Student Health Center. I spoke to my peers about how to make healthier eating choices. I talked about the importance of eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I carried props with me so that people could visualize what a serving of meat looked like (a deck of cards), or how much dry spaghetti they should put into the pot so that they would have one serving (the width of a nickel), and so on and so forth. Much of what I said was passed down from registered dieticians; I talked to students about the food guide pyramid, even though the pyramid did not make any sense to me. Why do we need to eat so many grains? Shouldn’t vegetables make up the bulk of our diets? What if people don’t eat meat and dairy? Shouldn’t we talk about how to actually have a healthy diet, instead of going off of an outdated system that doesn’t care about the health of the public? My questions were never answered.

One day, the registered dietitian at my college spoke to the HEAL interns. She gave a lecture about the dangers of trans fats and how we should never eat any products that contain trans fats. At the end of her lecture, she handed out mini sized Crunch bars. As many of us flipped the lids on the backs of the bars to read the ingredients, we saw that the “chocolate” (I put this in quotes, because Crunch bars are just junk and not actually chocolate), we saw that they contained trans fats. We asked her why she would give us this junk, when she had just explained to us the detrimental effects of consuming trans fats (which include an increased risk of heart attacks, increased LDL levels – “bad cholesterol” – and much more); she simply said, “well, that’s a small bar; just eat it in moderation.” Yes, that’s right. She told us to eat a deadly, unhealthy, man-made fat “in moderation.”

This moderation myth has left many people in serious health troubles. When I talk to my clients about their diets, many of them will say, “I eat healthy foods.” When we work together, I help them read labels, understand the difference between fresh, whole foods, and processed junk, and they realize that they’ve been led astray. It’s hard to make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle, when you’re constantly being lied to by food companies, the government, and registered dietitians. I love that my nutrition school does not accept money from meat, candy, dairy, soda, and processed junk companies. I can, and will, be absolutely honest with you about what is healthy for you, what should be limited, and what should be downright avoided.

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time. Dr. Greger has put together an excellent video highlighting much of what I wanted to discuss. I truly believe that when it comes to health, we cannot trust people who are being bribed by corrupt food companies. What’s even more disheartening is that registered dietitians are accredited and often work in hospitals; their degree also lands them in schools, colleges, and communities, where they’ll continue to promote the myth of moderation. What good is a “legitimate degree” if the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accepts money from companies that clearly don’t care about your health?

Before I went to nutrition school, several people told me their horror stories of visiting a registered dietitian. My friend was told to eat pancakes for breakfast, “because she had too many allergies” and the registered dietitian thought this would be best. Really?Pancakes for breakfast every day? If she had taken the time to speak with my friend for a little bit longer, she would have known that my friend rarely eats pancakes, because they usually make her feel nauseous. Another friend of mine was told to eat yogurt, even if it had 12 grams of sugar in just a small portion. I have so many examples, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. Watch this video and think about whether or not it’s right that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accepts millions of dollars from The Coca-Cola Company, PEPSICO, Kellog’s, General Mills, MARS food, the National Dairy Council, and more. Is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics really looking out for your health or is it lining its pockets with money from the very same companies that are highly responsible for the many diseases that people are facing today?