Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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The bigger problem with the cosy relationship between dietitians and the food industry

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Lots of drama in the dietetic world last week. No, I’m not talking about the wildly popular Dietitians Day. First, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) in the US brokered a facepalm worthy deal with Kraft to have their logo placed on process cheese slices. Dietitians everywhere (myself included) were outraged, certainly not shocked, but definitely outraged. And rightfully so. How are people supposed to take us seriously when an organization claiming to represent thousands of dietitians is promoting process cheese. A product that the majority of us would neither consume nor recommend to clients. On the defensive, AND released a statement (you may need to scroll down a bit to find the post) claiming that the prominent placement of their logo on the process cheese was not indicative of endorsement. Rather, the logo was indicative of Kraft’s support of AND. Right. We all know that doesn’t matter. It’s the perception that matters and everyone perceived the placement of the AND logo as an endorsement of the questionable product. Especially since the initial accompanying pronouncement stated that AND was proud to have their logo appearing on Kraft singles as many children don’t consume enough calcium and vitamin D. AND will be forming a committee to address the concerns of members regarding this deal with Kraft, in MAY. If you agree that this “partnership” is wrong then please take a minute to sign the Change.org petition asking AND to “repeal the seal”.

Hot on the heels of the AND Kraft debacle was the news that a number of dietitians had promoted mini-Coke cans as “healthy snacks”. These dietitians were likely all paid for selling their souls this work, although one of them couldn’t recall if she was paid by Coke or not. Gee, I wish I was making so much money that I could forget whether or not I was paid for something. While I hate to rag on fellow dietitians, it frustrates me to no end to hear of others doing such a disservice to our profession.

Both of these stories exemplify how the relationship between the food industry and dietetics/dietitians undermines our integrity as health professionals. There is a larger problem here. Dietetic organizations need sources of funding that do not come with conflicts of interest. Dietitians need more and better job opportunities. I understand that it’s a tough job market. Believe me, I’m not raking in the dough and I’m only quasi working as a dietitian. However, I would sooner give-up my status as a registered dietitian than to use it to promote questionable food and beverage choices. With the constantly changing science and messages in nutrition it’s hard enough to convince people to trust us. Is it really worth sacrificing our credibility to make a buck?


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Follow Friday: Get RD services covered

In the wake of Yoni Freedhoff’s excellent article about the lack of government health plan coverage for dietitians services some dietitians have started a petition on Change to, well, change this. Please, take a minute to sign the petition and share with everyone you know.


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Follow Friday: Stop junk food giants from taking over nutrition programs

Concerned about dietitians’ organizations ties to the food industry? You probably should be. It’s wrong for corporations like Pepsi, Coke, and McDonald’s (to name a few) to be providing funding to organizations that represent health care professionals who provide nutrition counselling. It’s also inappropriate for those organizations to be providing “educational” sessions at dietetic conferences. Here’s your chance to stand-up for dietitians; sign the petition to sever ties between the “junk food giants” and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Hopefully this effort will spill over into Canada and Dietitians of Canada will stop accepting sponsorship from the food industry.


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Follow Friday: Save the bees

WHOLE FOODS MARKET PRODUCE DEPARTMENT

As most people are aware (I hope!) bees are crucial to our food supply and existence. Our survival depends upon their survival. Unfortunately, these pollinators haven’t been faring so well of late.

The above photo shows what the produce section of the grocery store would look like without bees.

One of the major threats to the bee population is pesticides. You can show your support for the bees by signing the Save Our Bees petition at Change.org and the Avaaz petition.