This year’s National Nutrition Month, held every March, has been a disaster for registered dietitians. I speak for myself as one of the rank and file when I say our professional association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, threw us under the bus. Again.
The fiasco started on March 12th when The New York Times ran an article titled, A Cheese ‘Product’ Gains Kids’ Nutrition Seal. It described how the Academy gave Kraft permission to add our ‘Kids Eat Right’ logo to Kraft Singles, those individually wrapped slices of pasteurized prepared cheese product. ‘Kids Eat Right’ is a nutrition education program run by the Academy’s foundation. Kraft Singles is the first product to carry the logo, in the form of a seal. It looks like a product endorsement, but the Academy maintains it’s not. Unfortunately for them, it quacks like a duck.
Due to the absurdity of an organization of nutrition professionals promoting Kraft Singles, major news outlets, including ABC News, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, US News and others, picked up the story. They called into question the credentials of registered dietitians. It was guilt by association for us. But none was worse than Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, who quipped while pointing to a package of Kraft Singles, “the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an academy in the same way this is cheese.” Oh, the shame!
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Would you like to have a nutrition coach cheering you on toward your chosen goals with you all the time? As a busy professional and mom to an active kid, fitting in one more appointment — even social activities — isn’t very easy. I welcomed the opportunity to review the app 1:1 Nutrition Coaching by Rise.
It is a food diary app that allows you to log your meals and snacks with photos and/or descriptions, but the big difference that Rise offers is a personal nutrition coach who reviews what you are eating, asks questions, and makes suggestions to help you meet your goals. You can request a supportive coach or a tough coach, but even my tough coach was kind. No one is going to be yelling at you or even messaging you in all caps.
I chose my own goal — decrease sugar — and she offered suggestions and general tips both as feedback to my meals and in separate messages. As someone who lives with food allergies and centers my diet on vegetables and protein, I wondered what kind of advice I would be given since my diet doesn’t meet the general guidelines. When you sign up for 1:1 Nutrition Coaching by Rise, you can enter in dietary restrictions, and she must have paid attention to them because it never came up. She seemed excited by the amount of vegetables my family eats regularly and unconcerned by eggs for breakfast and steak for dinner.
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Enjoying the taste of eating right is something we do every day at DietsInReview, so we were thrilled to discover “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” was this year’s theme for National Nutrition Month!
Every year, March is set aside to celebrate health, especially nutrition. With a theme like this year’s, we knew we had to do something more than share nutrition tips. Instead we reached out to some of our favorite Registered Dietitians and asked them to share their recipes that are the perfect combination of eating right and eating well.
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Sponsorships are generally beneficial and non-controversial. They’re a way to keep doing business without having to worry about funds. But what happens when those sponsorships are in direct conflict with the mission of the sponsored?
When this happens in the field of dietetics, advocacy groups like Dietitians for Professional Integrity (DFPI) are formed. Founded in February by a group of citizens and 14 dietitians, they were primarily a Facebook group discussing concerns like the connection between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and Big Food.
Last month AND held their annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. DFPI attended the event, commonly referred to as FNCE, and have now released a report entitled “The Food Ties that Bind,” summarizing and detailing the message Big Food shared with the attendees.
According to the report, the Expo hall was liberally peppered with information from AND’s various partners and sponsors, including but not limited to: Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and the National Dairy Council. Corporate sponsors of FNCE had the opportunity to include “educational materials” in the tote bag provided to each attendee.
One handout, “Aspartame: One of the Most Studied Ingredients in the World,” was provided by Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. It detailed how long aspartame has existed and stated that it is used in 100+ countries around the world. It failed to include information from a recent study that found artificial sweeteners can alter the food reward-system response in the brain. This after Coca-Cola got blasted for being the health and wellness sponsor at BlogHer by the social media community.
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The FDA is finally stepping up to remove trans fat from a list of chemicals known as GRAS – or generally recognized as safe. This morning, the Food and Drug Administration opened up a 60-day public call for comments, scientific data, and other information they can use to help guide their decision to issue an all-out ban on trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil.
“Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives,” says the formal announcement made by the agency.
If this is finalized, the FDA says “food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs.”
That’s news that has the dietetic community happy as heart-healthy clams. We reached out to several thought leaders from the dietetic community to hear their reactions to the trans fat ban news first.
Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food. — Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert and a NYC-based dietitian
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