How American Dietitians Sold Out to Coca Cola and Pepsi

AND and Coca Cola

Sponsored by junk food

Do you trust what dietitians say in the media? Perhaps you shouldn’t. At least in the US the dietitian could have been educated by The Coca Cola Company.

I recommend reading this new report on the “unspeakably cozy relationship” between America’s largest association of nutrition professionals (AND) and Big Food. In short: AND have totally sold out to Coca Cola, Pepsico as well as candy manufacturers (like Mars foods). In return for money and influence Big Food is allowed to, for example, produce educational material and accredited education for the dietitians of America.

So when your dietitian says that it’s all about eating a balanced diet (including soda and candy) and exercising more, that could be arguments taught to him or her by Pepsico.

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26 Comments

Top Comment

  1. greg
    I'm American and I say keep picking on us. As a nation we're so fat and too stupid to realize just about everything we're doing with our diet is wrong. I don't believe in positive reinforcement :-D
    Read more →

All Comments

  1. Wendy in Texas
    Diet Doctor,

    Maybe you shouldn't constantly pick on America and Americans...
    Novo Nordisk, headquartered in DENMARK appears in your table above and in 2012 it was the UK that claimed the fattest man in the world.......

    Just sayin'.,,

    Your posts consistently single out the US, but in fact, the problems with diet, weight and health you like to discuss exist in the whole of western society - maybe you can lay off insulting the US in so many of your posts and let the other problem nations have their fair share of the criticism as well - share the "love", so to speak.

    Wendy Nilsson

    p.s.

    My teenage son & I discovered you about a year ago when Howard Garrett (dirtdoctor.com) mentioned you in his newsletter. My son, who did need to take off some weight, has succeeded in losing his extra pounds, partly by following a much-lower-carb-than-before, high fat diet - so thanks!

    Replies: #3, #24
  2. Butch
    It was the American Food Industry who lead the way in making the whole world eat this kind of diet. America might have not discovered it BUT the American Food Industry exploited the opportunity using the government to push it to the masses via marketing campaign and commercialism in the name of capitalism.
  3. I love Americans and I love spending time in America. However, I see nothing necessarily American about selling out to the junk food industry.
  4. Steve
    He is not picking on Americans, he is criticizing the institutions which are supposedly looking out for our health.
  5. greg
    I'm American and I say keep picking on us. As a nation we're so fat and too stupid to realize just about everything we're doing with our diet is wrong. I don't believe in positive reinforcement :-D
  6. murray
    Wendy has a point. It is okay to pick on those who are better off. People can tell lawyer jokes because lawyers are typically well off and can take a punch (line). But it is time to stop picking on the US. The US has become physically and economically disabled of late. The US apparently leads the world in the obesity and diabetes epidemic. Its employment participation rate has recently dropped to the same level as during the Great Depression in the 1930s. This year for the first time ever the US is not among the top ten nations for per capita standard of living and Its currency is on the brink of collapse. We should start feeling sorry for the US.

    That said, it's remarkable that AND would allow such a blatant conflict of interest to arise and persist. I don't think pointing out the obvious lapse in judgment and ethics is anti-American, unless you believe the misjudgment typifies a shift in American sensibilities writ large.

    Reply: #20
  7. Lila
    Hi, I recently discovered this blog of course searching for answeres about weight. I am from Mexico currently living in Canada and have lived in USA for 7 years as well. In Mexico I considered my life style healthy eating balanced foods (a little bit of everything) and sweets once in a while. Never had issues with weight, always steady and not feeling deprived or hungry. I exercised and still do regularly (4 times a week interval training) When I moved to USA I gained a lot of weight and always feeling I had to be on a diet to maintain my weight. When I went back to Mexico I was good again (healthy in every way,got checked every year). I lost weight and felt "normal" again. But I have been in Canada for 6 months and I have gained weight again and I constantly feeling hungry watching everything I eat! I also feel so bloated all the time. This is no life! So I want to try this new diet and see if it's possible to understand if it's the wheat, the carbs or grains that are making me gain weight here. I do not eat processed foods, no sodas, no candy, etc. I know the food here is completely different from my country but it's such a HUGE difference even though I eat sensible and balanced and still feeling hungry and deprived all the time and gaining weight. Why? So, I will try this LCHF diet. But my other question is who do we believe? I read a lot about nutrition so I do not consider myself ignorant about it, but every few years the new health scare appears and everybody seems to have evidence , and studies and research to validate what they are saying and it's a constant contradiction. What if in a few years all this LCHF diet is not so good after all? I feel a bit lost. Can sombody help here? I would hate to leave Canada to not become another statistic number being over weight. I want my "feeling normal, eating all I want in a healthy way, not feeling deprived, hungry and miserable" again. Can somebody relate? Thanks!
  8. Zepp
    Eat real food, less high digesting carbs, take som more fats.. or rather eat fatyer food!

    I think its that low fat food you have over there!

    http://www.lowcarb.ca/

  9. Galina L
    Why to single out dietitians as being maroons? There is an aspiring obesity researcher who just posted his thoughts about the unnecessary advice to limit dogs consumption of carbs to keep them healthy http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=1629175743855013102&post.... It looks like he is very prepared to turn any direction which may be required to scientifically support whatever.
  10. David
    Great food for thought here. Coca Cola and Pepsi are easy sells. What is difficult to know is what's really going on in our bodies and to sell ourselves on what we need to do to assure a best chance for good health outcomes. If what we consume leads to diabetes and/or obesity, one might later regret not being able to see the forest for the trees. There's a sea of trouble on our grocery store shelves, and oceans of advertisements to send us down the "bunny trail" without a clue to what products off those shelves might be doing to us unless we understand the science of these things. Figure it out now, don't suffer bad health later. Thanks for the great website. Hope you keep the provocative articles coming, it's worth a few ruffled feathers.
  11. NS
    Doc,

    I often have issues with much of what you write but you are in fact spot on with this one. Notwithstanding the silly rantings of a few commenters here, America should be ashamed of itself in so many ways. If you haven't done so already, you should see the exceptional film, Dogville, with Nicole Kidman. It is a sharp but accurate critique of American culture, and to some extent, human nature. In America, like the film, especially when push comes to shove and in so many instances, everything becomes negotiable....everything becomes possible....and any foundations of fundamental morality seem to disappear. Europe, particularly, northern Europe, is the model of how an advanced society should live - they have governments and institutions that are actually, um, responsive to the people. How refreshing! The "compromised" dietitians of which you write above.....they are only a tiny, tiny tip of the principle-bereft, corrupted iceberg that is modern US culture. I no longer have any hope for my country.

    Thank you incidentally for demonstrating your sincerity to help people overcome their weight struggles.

  12. Sakari Peltola
    Hi everyone!

    Lila was asking in her post: who to trust in diet matters. (And for that matter why not also in other matters...)
    I find that there is one pretty good guideline. Believe more in the information that comes from low- or non profit sources. The ones that are mingled in making hundreds of millions from what they are saying are always prone to more corruption and therefore lies.
    Also educate yourself in matters of basic science so you can compare the studies from different sources. Understanding how everything works makes it easier to choose who you trust...

  13. Kurt Lao
    Politics everywhere really. It's whoever has the money, has the power. These Big Foods can really overpower and influence the thinking of a lot of people, even those professionals that are supposed to protect us and tell us the truth. It's really up to us individuals to do our own research and always ask for a second opinion. Eternal vigilance can save us.

    On a side note, do read the product reviews of Weight Rater before you are ever considering buying a fitness or diet program. It can save you a lot of money.

  14. NS
    @Kurt,

    You are right, but only partially. Politics is of course everywhere and money-influencing is not at all an America-specific-only issue. However, what is of significance is the DEGREE that it is a problem in the US. Degrees of problems are always critical and the degree to which corporate power rules carte blanche in the States, the degree to which it totally dominates US policy, not just politics, the degree to which the decision makers are removed from popular criticism, from being held accountable to the people.....that is the problem, particularly for a country that is supposed to be the "model" of "democracy." How funny! I have news for Americans who refuse to wake up....look to Europe, North Europe, for answers. Take Iceland, for example, currently my favorite country there. They were the ~only~ state on that continent to tell the IMF, World Bank, and their own corrupted politicians to take their "austerity measures" and go to ***** . That brought their currency to lows not seen in decades....and what did that do? They now have the most dynamic economy in Europe!! Aside: it may not have been a coincidence that a "Swedish" doctor is needed to "save" America.

    Corrupted dietitians are just a symptom of a corrupted culture. Along with Doc's diet revolution, there needs to be a cultural revolution in the US as well. Until that happens, nothing fundamental will change.

  15. Emily
    Hi

    I am a dietician in South Africa. I heard you at one of your talks with Tim Noaks while you were here. Both my husband (who is a doctor) and I absolutely loved your talk, and we are continually discussing it and have made some major changes to our own diets, as a result of your talk.

    I hear what you are saying about the ADA (and also other country's) dietetics societies accepting sponsership from Big Food companies that are in no way healthy. And, that the dietetics societies receiving money from these organisations means that they open themselves up to education and input from these companies, which is obviously very biased and money driven information. As a dietician, this whole thing also really frustrates me.

    However, I think that you need to give dieticians a little more credit for intelligence. Do you think that we don't see through this?
    I went to a dietetics event a little while back that was sponsered by Coke. By the end of the evening I was very frustrated, because the info was SO CLEARLY biased. It didn't even take someone with a highly regarded degree to figure that one out! The most useful thing that I got out of it was a free back pack bag...pitty I refuse to wear it because it has a Coke logo on it! Once I've sewn something over the logo, it may be a useful back pack!

    Please be careful to not put down other health professionals such as dieticians, and assume that we are all listening to the 'Big Food's' nonsense education. A good dietician is NOT one that is stuck in a box and just receives everything that they hear as truth, no matter where it comes from. A good dietician is able to think scientifically, and is also able to discern when to take new info and apply it and when not to. Sure, there will be some dieticians who do promote 'closed-minded' principles like 'its just about calories in versus calories out.' But, that is definitely not all of us.

    So, please don't lump us all together and make a bad name for dieticians as a profession. Rather, let's work on teaming together. We are really all on the same side here...we all want to make a positive difference in the area of health and disease prevention. So, let's support each other and help each other towards this goal, rather than pull in opposite directions.

    Thanks again for your very interesting and inspiring talk in Cape Town. You have two new fans here in Cape Town!

    Kind regards,
    Emily Innes

    Replies: #16, #18
  16. However, I think that you need to give dieticians a little more credit for intelligence. Do you think that we don't see through this?

    I think it's often hard to see through it completely. Biased "education" (a better word might be concealed propaganda) eventually affects people. A lie repeated enough times starts to appear as self-evident truth. Coke knows it or they would not pay millions for the opportunity.

    However it's not specific for dietitians of course the same exact thing is true for doctors, PhDs etc. They are more or less equally vulnerable.

  17. Rebela
    He is not picking on Americans. He is just pointing out how dietitians who happen to be American are sponsored by some soda and candy companies and the message is that they will not necessarily tell you what is really not good for you. I never felt offended. However there are lot of obese people here. Nobody should really get offended. There are many things America is great there is no need to feel offended. We have to be critical of some things in our society. That does not mean that the whole society or that American people are not ok. .
  18. FrankG
    I have met highly intelligent and open-minded Dietitians here in Canada; who privately will agree with the conclusions about sugar and refined starches being the problem BUT they are constrained by the policies of both government organisations and their own licensing bodies to toe the party line, or else... this then raise the questions of: who is writing these policies and who is best served by them?

    As for any anti-USA sentiment I don't see that at all... this is a global free-market issue, the report highlighted the problem with AND's sponsors but they could just as easily have been any of the developed countries. That said, the USA is still regarded as a world leader in such matters and it is naive to suggest that USA policy does not have a global impact.

  19. Lila
    Every one has good points going on. Thanks for the reply Sakari. I will have that in mind.
  20. Kayliegh
    We already feel sorry for the US bud... and why do you ask for compassion for fucking yourselves up? Why do you think the soda companies have this kind of power? Because it has been given to them.
    Reply: #21
  21. Priscilla
    Because most of us didn't "fuck ourselves up", Kayleigh. I don't think the people of the US should be held responsible for decisions in which they actually have no input. I don't think children should be held responsible for the bad choices of their parents. You have to understand that most people in the US get their nutrition education from TV and friends, because there are so few other avenues available to us.

    The FDA and USDA are captive agencies. They are controlled by industry, and the people of America had nothing to do with it. We have zero control over the actions of those agencies. These agencies are not made up of elected officials. To blame the people of America for the actions of executives we did not elect, over whom we have no oversight, is just stupidity.

    After my granddad developed heart disease (which we now know happens to basically every male in his family, it is genetic) he was told that a low-fat diet focused on carbs would help keep him healthy. Doctors, hospitals, and dietitians told him this, so how on earth was he to know any different?

  22. Hi there,

    I considered what you said about the dieticians in America and I would like you to consider the following:
    If the dieticians did not join Coke or Pepsico, how could they make a positive impact if they were running their thing on the one side and Coke runs their campaigns on their side.
    Unfortunately, Coke is a global company with a huge influence through their numerous and creative campaigns.

    It has a positive affect if people with scientific-based knowledge are based within a company to ensure that healthier corporate cultures are developed.

    Dieticians should be based in companies like this to ensure that healthy nutrition is promoted and healthy science used to produce food for the masses.
    I do, however, agree that the "kick-back" of printing material might be setting of some debate for the skeptic - one which I am not going into right now.

    I, myself, am a registered dietician in sunny South Africa, "not-proudly diagnosed" as the third fattest country in the world and I share your disgust with the fact that not nearly enough is being done to combat obesity.

    I firmly believe our intake of refined carbohydrates, which include sugar, are the main cause of our global burden of non-communicable diseases.

  23. Eric
    Now that got me thinking...what about all the advice that the British Nutrition Foundation put out? Surely their scientists would be unaffiliated? Ha ha ha.
    Industrial Scientists Committee
    Chairman ISC
    Miss A Heughan RD, Unilever PLC

    Vice Chairman ISC
    Dr S French BSc PhD, Mars UK

    Members
    Ms F Angus BSc MSc, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland
    Dr V Betteridge, Tate and Lyle plc
    Dr J Cooper BSc PhD CChem FRSC CSci FIFST, British Sugar
    Dr J Garry BSc PhD, Danone Ltd
    Dr S Gatenby BSc PhD RPHNutr, PepsiCo UK and Ireland
    Ms N Gillett BSc, ABF Allied Bakeries
    Ms K Halliwell MBiochem MSc, Food and Drink Federation (Observer)
    Ms A Hoyland, Kellogg Company of Great Britain Limited
    Ms C Hughes BSc MSc, Marks and Spencer plc
    Mrs M Hurworth BSc, United Biscuits (UK) Ltd
    Ms C Parker BSc, J Sainsbury plc
    Ms L Read BSc Dip Nutr Diet RD, Nestlé UK Ltd
    Mrs M Strong MBA BSc RD DADP FRSH CertEd, AHDB Meat Services

    Hahahaha ....thanks for the 'enlightenment'!

  24. Unamerican
    americans are the scum of the earth. thank you for your time.
  25. bill
    I went to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    website and it appears that they have eliminated
    the link to their sponsors.

    Is this right or am I missing something?

  26. Wendy in Texas
    My original comment had to do with the Doc often holding the US up as the bad example. I don't deny that there is a lot wrong with the food culture in the US, but it is also wrong on a global scale. I have lived outside the US and I know this from firsthand experience.

    There is a lot of America bashing for the sake of America bashing up there too. Also from my own firsthand experience, I would bet that a lot of it stems from what you think you know and not from what you actually know. While living abroad, more than once, I met people who LOVE to bash the US, the more Americans present at the time, the better for the person doing the bashing, but who had never stepped foot in the US or spent any time getting to know us (only being influenced by what they read or saw in movies, etc.). To you, I say either find out for yourself firsthand what we Americans are all about or shut your piehole.

    To you, Doc, I believe I held up 2 non-American examples above in my first comment who have sold out as well in certain ways. So, I still believe it's a global (especially western) thing. And I dare say, I bet the especially western part will go away as time goes on and developing countries sell out more and more too. It's already happening, sadly.

    Doc, I hope you are still loving Americans and spending time in America. I love Swedes and spending time in Sweden too - and will be doing so in a short time with my two sons. Can't wait to get more LCHF recipes while there and to read about the latest LCHF happenings (glad I speak Swedish) - the US is really Paleo-centric and I like dairy too much to completely go that route.

    Best regards,

    Wendy in Texas (feeling better eating lower carb) and about to be spending time in Sweden :)

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