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Money TALKS - When Food Companies Dictate What "Healthy" Is!!

Posted Jan 23 2013 1:10pm
Almost all what we learn as dietitians in Lebanon is based on books, studies, courses and articles all funded by the USA. And consequently almost all LDs [Licensed Dietitians, what we are called after we complete our BS, internship & colloquium exam held by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health] in Lebanon are "taught" to look up to RDs [Registered Dietitians, what American/Canadian dietitians are called after they complete their BS, internship & register in the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics] - you know, given that AND & USDA decide what we are "taught" is healthy or not.

Well, Michele Simon - Public Health attorney & president of Eat, Drink, Politics  - has hit AND with an eye-opening report just this month:  And Now a Word from Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?

AND's loyal sponsors
Source: Michele Simon's report
What is intriguing is AND's sponsors who may influence AND's 74,000 members [RDs], hence the message they spread about health!
Among AND's sponsors are:

  • National Dairy Council
  • National Cattleman's Beef Association
  • ConAgra
  • General Mills
  • Kellogg's
  • Coca-Cola
  • Pepsi Co.
  • Nestle
  • Mars
  • Abbott
  • Hershey's
  • Krafts Foods 
  • And yes, all which are approved companies that give continuing education courses to AND members! Page 12 in the report  gives you a small glimpse on how continuing education courses offered by Coca-Cola 'professionals' convey that sugar is harmless to kids!

    What's even more pathetic is that in Lebanon, we do the same!
    MONEY TALKS! Oldways, Coca-Cola and Abbott have sponsored the very 3 last conferences held by the the Lebanese Association for Nutrition and Food Sciences [ LANFS , soon to be renamed to LAND, Lebanese Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics - the only association for Licensed Dietitians in Lebanon]

    Back in April 2011 for instance, Oldways ["A nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, with a mission to guide people to good health through heritage" as their website notes], hosted a conference in association with the LANFS and the American University of Beirut about " Basics of Balanced and Sensible Nutrition".

    I remember Coca-Cola had few talks in this conference concerning how their drinks could be incorporated in a healthy diet to ensure proper hydration, that their caramelized added colors are non-cancerous and that sugar does not contribute to obesity! Everybody was frustrated for days afterwards, thank god for some critical thinking!
    I was able to retrieve the conference's program from AUB's website , and cropped Coca-Cola's talks!

    It's pathetic to let big food companies influence what healthy recommendations are!
    We are being taught what to convey to the public by what USA gigantic food companies require us to market! Most dietitians here let their clients have diets sodas in their diets, require them to have 3 servings of dairy products per day & require them to have lean red meat everyday! It's about time we think for ourselves & check different schools than "those funded by food companies"! 
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