Let’s connect the dots to see how human health takes a back seat to corporate messaging.
The Expert Conundrum: Fox in the Hen House
Aghast, I watched the following power point by a person in the health and nutrition profession. She offered Big Agriculture a hit list of folks from the holistic food movement, so industry would know who to discredit and attack in the media so they could continue with business as usual. In 2009, a Registered Dietitian went after after Dr. Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and anyone with some fame who disagrees with the predominant messages of the food industry. In the 25 minute presentation, she sounded the alarm that 85,000 people attended the Slow Food conference in San Francisco, ridiculed anyone on the list with a PhD or MD as dangerous since their education carries weight, and expressed dismay over Michelle Obama planting an organic garden at the White House. Mere months later, Alice Waters, organizer of that Slow Food conference was trashed in the media. The White House garden, to this day, gets ridiculed by a certain segment of society. Mission accomplished:
We see Registered Dietitians on local and national news programs. They pen articles or serve at grocery stores to help people pick foods. A dietitian is often tasked with putting together menus for hospitals or schools. Politicians love dietitians and put them on boards. You don’t see Marion Nestle or Alice Waters getting appointed to many boards, though I believe we would have a healthier country and planet if they were.
In other words, Registered Dietitians are a trusted entity in American society.
The Expert Provides Cover for the Industry
I learned about this presentation after having seen the new commercial brought to us by the Soda Union. The same businesses that don’t want workers to have unions have their own unions, though they are lobbying firms, associations, councils, institutes, or chambers. In all, they are another way for mighty corporations to funnel money to obfuscate the truth about their products. Here’s the commercial:
Notice the emphasis on the shift in calories. It’s calories, calories, calories, while high fructose corn syrup, sugar, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, phosphoric acid (used by dentists to eat enamel away prior to fillings), and cancer-causing sweeteners are ignored. You now have choices! Fewer calories to feed your kids, but you get all the other ingredients. Yay us!
When I went to the American Beverage Association’s website, I found a page dedicated to smacking down any and all critics. As I scrolled down, I discovered the Registered Dietitian from the first video helping the soda industry convince consumers not to believe criticism against their products. She has that R.D. after her name, so yes, it carries weight with consumers. If the dietitiansays it’s okay, then it must be!
Why would someone tasked with protecting and improving human health do this? This one in particular has worked for, consulted, or testified on behalf of all of Big Ag’s unions: grocery manufacturers, genetically modified soybeans, the snack food industry, Big Soda, Big Dairy, and who knows what else? As I searched online for other dietitians, I found more who have created lobbying groups to help improve the image of junk foods or improperly grown foods with the general public. Anyone could do this, but that “R.D.” looks mighty special when they are defending tactics that common sense would say are deleterious to human, animal, and planetary health.
Organize and Co-Opt Them
What would motivate folks tasked with ensuring the health of our children, the ill, and others, those with a loud voice that reaches many corners of society, to provide cover via smoke and mirrors to the very corporations and industries that contribute to illness? Are these Registered Dietitians merely bad eggs in the carton? Let’s pull on that string.
The Artist Formerly Known As The American Dietetics Association now has the fancier, more scholarly-sounding monicker, “Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,” with a website URL called EatRight. On paper, I’d believe what they had to say if someone who was part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told me I should or shouldn’t eat something. Wouldn’t you? It sounds that official. And without much examination, many people follow along.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the ADA, has sponsors who join this organization to “[reach] more people than either group could do alone.” Who is looking to get their message out through the mouths of ADA members?
- Coca-Cola and Pepsi: Providers of sugar, HFCS, artificial everything, and acid
- National Dairy Council: Defenders of bovine growth hormone
- Hershey and Mars: Candy
- General Mills and Kellogg: Home of silly rabbits and nosy toucans
- Unilever: Genetically modified organisms
- Abbott Laboratories: Makers of Similac infant formula, which is more than 50% sugar and as of 1999 contained GMO soy according to Consumer Reports. No word on if it still does, because the United States does not require labeling. Who has defended the lack of labeling? Our friend the registered dietitian from the video above.
- Truvia: Stevia for use in place of sugar. I love stevia! Have you ever picked a leaf off the plant and sucked on it? Mmm! Nothing to see here…. Wait, Truvia is created by Cargill, home of feedlot (grain-finished) cattle, HFCS, and GMO. Oh and Truvia is a stevia extract, which is 10 times sweeter than the actual plant, which itself is up to 40 times sweeter than sugar.
We’re known by the company we keep; people judge us on that. Now, I will grant that Jesus Christ hung out with prostitutes and lepers and he turned out to be a good guy. But he seems to be the exception to the rule. It’s very hard to see the “Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics” as little more than a front group for the agricultural giants who pollute the landscape, patent nature, and provide the products that make the population ill. It’s not just one or two folks spreading this message. It’s a majority of a membership that measures in the tens of thousands.
As a result, despite growing evidence of the harm of GMOs via experimentation (the same style of experiments that test drugs or herbs prior to human consumption), this organization (heretofore the ADA/AND) supports genetic modification and encourages its membership to advocate and promote it.
Obfuscate and Attack the Messenger (Using Experts)
You might ask, why is the evidence only “growing?” After all, almost uniformly, genetic modification outfits and promoters say the following: “In more than 15 years that biotech crops have been commercially grown, there has not been a single documented case of an ecosystem disrupted or a person made ill by these foods.” That must be scientific consensus right? Well, that’s the GMO soybean group talking.
Can I get an “Amen!” from a biotech scientist? Verbatim-ish:
If you watched the full clip, the biotech scientist tells people to go to three websites, calling them “university-based information sources.” Interesting languaging, because when I visited them, they are all pro-GMO websites run by biotech scientists, who have a vested interest in promoting genetically modified foods. Sure, they are academic, but that’s like asking McDonald’s to tell you their meat is safe. Until recently, they were one of the companies that sold ammonia-treated beef, or “pink slime,” in their hamburgers.
In another clip available at Dr. Oz’s website, the biotech scientist dismisses Jeffrey Smith because he’s not a scientist like she is. I guess this means that unless you have the keys to the castle, you cannot comment. Remember the first video up top? The dietitian dismisses the anti-GMO/processed/non-organic crowd and warns that they have credentials that carry weight. So here’s the Catch-22: If one criticizes GMO foods, one had better have credentials, but then we should dismiss them because they have criticized GMO foods. I have my Masters in Science (credential). I distrust GMO (the credential is in herbalism, so we should dismiss me as a layman). I have read the dangers provided by Jeffrey Smith (no credential). The sources come from credentialed scientists who discovered harms from GMO (dismiss the credential).
Let’s look at the statement given by the biotech scientist and the biotech soy folks, which is supported by the official organization of dietitians (ADA/AND). No harm to the environment? Why else would organic farmers sue Monsanto? GMO seed encroaches on non-GMO farms and the non-GMO farmer currently bears the liability. What about a person not being made ill? In the scientific community, efficacy and effects of products on humans are often tested via double-blind clinical trials. I worked on one as an assistant. Guess what products have not gone through the rigorous process?
When it comes to food, industry is often allowed to do its own testing prior to approval by the government. In the case of GMOs, giants like Monsanto deny the need for human testing, claiming outright that they are safe because the protein in their plant is similar enough to nature’s bounty. In other words, a plant is a plant is a plant, as long as they’re similar. But as I’ve pointed out on this website before, in eggs or beef for example, how the egg or cow is grown directly effects the quality of the product, the nutrient density inside, and the ability to help or harm health. With industry’s barricades, actual studies on human health are merely emerging, leaving room for the evidence pile to grow. Lo, we do have a significantly negative result with human cells, but we’re still very far away from actual clinical trials.
Despite the studies in animals and on human cells, GMOs are not labeled in this country. On the labeling front, the dietitian from the first video has held firm, stating from time to time, whether a few years ago or back in 1999 that informing the public about what they’re eating could make them confused, so consumers are best left in the dark.
Connect the Dots. La, La, La.
- Corporations: GMOs are considered safe by GMO companies, biotech scientists, and certain health professionals, though emerging studies show they are not. “HFCS is just like sugar,” though it’s really not. “Milk with synthetic hormones is just like any other milk!” Except it isn’t. They’ve got big bucks and they sure can lie.
- Professional Organization: Dietetic organization is funded by polluters, GMO titans, and sugar pushers. An organizational position becomes favorable to these corporations, whether pro-GMO or in favor of “moderation,” the Inadequacy Industry’s word to give permission to have some of their harmful product.
- Public Face: Dietitian follows the lead of the corporate-controlled organization and disses food activists who support organics, whole foods, and foods grown according to nature’s dictates, while claiming to be an expert on human health. For example, HFCS is considered worse than sugar, unless you’re a Registered Dietitian. Then you’ll say the following: “A sugar is a sugar is a sugar,” the fructose difference is statistically insignificant (though in the study above, while structurally similar, the difference between the type of fructose is quite important, since a sugar isn’t a sugar isn’t a sugar), and “So what does this mean for your sugar choices?” Sugar choices? How about none? Furthermore, HFCS is made from corn, often genetically modified. Corn itself has high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. Since HFCS appears in many products most Americans are eating, they are throwing off the delicate balance between omega-6 and omega-3 with each item that has HFCS. This imbalance creates the inflammation that presages Western dietary diseases, the ones that are intensely pressuring our health care system.
- You: Consumer of information. Truster of experts. If you look beyond the Wizard’s curtain, say at a Jeffrey Smith or David Wolfe or Marion Nestle, you are invalid because it did not come from the “Of Record” groups.
An Outlier Speaks
Though many other nutrition professionals exist, dietitians seem to be the group that is most compromised by industry, which uses the initials “R.D.” to help people go against their intuition about certain foodstuffs. Not all dietitians are compromised, though. As a dietetics student, Andy Bellatti determined that “The American Dietetic Association Isn’t a Health Organization.” (<— This article is a must read!) He writes:
As a future Registered Dietitian, I am beginning to understand why the credential is completely foreign to the average American, why we are often seen by some people as advocates for lobby groups rather than health, and why the field we are supposed to have ownership of is claimed by so many. I am encouraged, though, to have met Registered Dietitians who are independent thinkers and are passionate about clean and healthful eating. It’s my sincere hope that we can mobilize and help bring the field we have so much faith in to the forward-thinking place where it truly belongs.
He seems to have an uphill battle on his hands.
But Chris, Why Are You Concerned?
In the holistic health world, the ability to practice is sliced and diced. Because I’m not a doctor, I cannot claim to cure, heal, or treat a disease. So, if I see the herbs and nourishment advice I give create enhanced health (a phrase we’re currently allowed to use), I cannot tell others that I cured, healed, or treated. That’s because the doctors’ union got themselves the legislative approval to be the curers in our society. I prefer to restore balance and enhance wellness, anyway.
Despite having to choose my words carefully, I at least am able to have my practice.
Though I know about nutrients, when I recommend foods, I discuss the growing process and picking nourishing foods. I would never suggest a client use margarine, though Bellatti notes in the link above that the correct answer for lowering sodium in a meal is to use low sodium margarine. Margarine contains vegetable oils that have an omega-6 content that can promote inflammation. Pastured butter does not. To be fair, ADA/AND has a position paper that tells dietitians to consider promoting organic/grass-fed foods as a way to help the environment. Interesting to me, they designed the position paper as a statement on the environment, rather than the benefits to human health! Bellatti’s post comes four years after the position paper’s release, so margarine apparently is still the official answer to one’s sodium woes.
But Wait, There’s More!
While I wouldn’t support margarine as an answer (an ADA/AND position) and would point out all the evidence (read this blog) about properly grown food being better for human health (not an ADA/AND position), the United States might someday tell me that I have to use the initials that take these stands. The R and the D.
This isn’t a federal government issue. Instead, this would result from intense lobbying by the ADA/AND in at least 80% of the available 50 states to require anyone who gives nutrition advice to do so under the purview of being a Registered Dietitian. Is the sudden name change to include “Nutrition” just coincidental?
In North Carolina, a nutritionist with a PhD. in Clinical Nutrition has been denied the right to practice in her field because of one such law pushed through. Her website details the important differences between a dietitian and a nutritionist, while outlining twelve different lines of work over which the the ADA/AND wants to gain control. Notice that 92% of dietitians work in institutional settings, such as hospitals and schools. Cancer patients get jello (according to an oncology nurse and a few relatives of patients I know) and school lunches have sugary milk and other nutrient-weak foods. In a double whammy, the U.S.D.A. also controls school lunches. And we wonder why behavioral problems plague institutions of learning. Is there a solution?
Natural Ovens Bakery, which contracted to supply the lunch food at the alternative school in the video, was created by a man with a Masters in Biochemistry (credential), but not dietetics (wrong credential).
Dr. Lipski is no quack, no idiot. Here’s a long presentation by her about the nitty-gritty of nutrition and digestive health:
At 35 minutes, she relays the story of a former client who would have a terrible reaction to eating one yellow M&M. She points to research that shows yellow dye causes an inflammatory response in the body. Now, say Dr. Lipski decides to acquiesce to the ADA/AND and takes their low-level courses at a school that they approve (yes, it has to be at an institution they say is fine) and their test, will she still be able to mention this story or will Mars’s sponsorship of the ADA/AND dissuade her from such tales?
“I Don’t Wanna Be a Pirate!”
Here’s the long form: exactly how I feel about where things might be headed.
I have my own training, expertise, and clinical experience. I refuse to practice the nutritionism that the ADA/AND supports. I focus on nourishment and I believe the studies that show what’s good and what’s dangerous – I don’t have the nebulous positions declared by the ADA/AND. Also, I wouldn’t want my own integrity compromised by holding a certification from a group that’s in bed with GMOs, sugary substances, HFCS, and improper meat growing procedures. With the money from Coke, Unilever, and Hershey’s, there’s a good chance my freedom to have a practice will disappear.
Remember, the Inadequacy Industry is the collusion between corporations and government to trick us out of our common sense. Coincidentally, the ADA/AND and industrial agriculture came into being around the same time. If the corporate-sponsored Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics can influence enough in government, health freedom will be at stake, for they will try to shut anyone down if they kinda sorta think you’re doing something that only they have official designation for. I know someone who received a letter to “cease and desist” from practicing dietetics. She wasn’t practicing dietetics, though she was discussing food with clients. With the help of others, the issue went away.
Many more people could get caught up in the red tape at great expense, for in this case, it won’t be the credential that matters, but the right credential.
Guess I’d better brush up on my margarines…