Can the Nutrition Industry Be Trusted? New Report Says ‘No’

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Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics denies it faces conflicts of interest due to funding from junk food makers

recently released report has found that a highly influential group representing approximately 100,000 dietitians, nutrition practitioners and students who advise people on what foods to eat accepted millions in contributions from ultra-processed food, pharmaceutical, and agribusiness companies.

The report finds that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its corporate donors had a “symbiotic” relationship and that the group often acted as a pro-industry voice, with policy positions that conflicted with its mission to improve global health.

The study, published in Public Health Nutrition, is titled “The Corporate Capture of the Nutrition Profession in the USA: The Case of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.”

The Academy is largely dismissive of the report, claiming it is misleading and categorically denies that corporate funding has any influence on its policies or positions.

“The Academy’s procedures and formal agreements with external organizations are designed to prevent any undue corporate influence,” writes the Academy.

“As the report itself notes: ‘This study does not include interviews with key actors, which would have provided a detailed narrative of actions and decisions in the AND [Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics] and ANDF [Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation] and would have helped contextualize our findings.’”

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) refers to itself as “the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals” and, according to its website, represents over 112,000 credentialed practitioners which include registered dietician nutritionists, nutrition and dietetics technicians, and other professionals and students. The group is one of the most influential professional health associations in the United States and helps shape U.S. health policy.

Who Is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was founded as the American Dietetic Association in 1917 by a group of women aiming to help the government conserve food and improve public health and nutrition during the first world war.

By Emma Suttie

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