Coke Indoctrinates Dieticians


coke ADA 300x291 Coca Cola Company Teaching Dietitians that Sugar, Fluoride, Artificial Colors are SAFE for Children


Coca Cola Company Teaching Dietitians that Sugar, Fluoride, Artificial Colors are SAFE for Children

by Alliance for Natural Health

We wish we could say we are surprised. Registered dietitians are now being given formal education by the Coca-Cola Company on how safe its ingredients are.

The credentialing arm of the American Dietetic Association, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), has approved a program created by the The Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. This covers what it calls “urban myths” about the safety of food ingredients. Participating in this program will earn registered dietitians Continuing Professional Education unit credits.

“Children’s Dietary Recommendations: When Urban Myths, Opinions, Parental Perceptions & Evidence Collide,” tells dietitians that fluoride, sugar, artificial colors and nonnutritive sweeteners have been “carefully examined for their effects on children’s health, growth, and development.” The presenter, Dr. Ronald Kleinman, “explores prevalent misconceptions about these food ingredients” and suggests ways the dietitian can help quell unnecessary “concern among parents about their children’s health.”

At first glance, Dr. Kleinman should know what he is talking about. He is physician-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, chief of the Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Nutrition Unit, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Couldn’t sound better, could it? But he has also received a great deal of money from industry sources—like artificial infant formula manufacturers Mead Johnson and Nestle Ltd. His study on optimal duration of breastfeeding was funded by Gerber Products. He also served as a paid expert witness for Gerber when they were sued for deceptive advertising. And he contributed to a brochure intended for children entitled “Variety’s Mountain” produced by the Sugar Association.

Now he’s being sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company and telling dietitians that the ingredients in Coke which everyone is alarmed about are safe. The dietitians, in turn, will be telling parents that their fears are unfounded, and Coke can sell more Coke to kids.

Program materials include gems like “[a] majority of studies so far have not found a link between sugar and behavior in children generally or children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” This is certainly news to us, since we have seen many studies that say the opposite. Apparently the dietitians are to teach us that any connection between artificial colors and neurotoxicity, or fears of the dangers of fluoride, are imaginary and come from hysterical (or at least unduly concerned) parents.

As we reported recently, sugar and artificial sweeteners are anything but safe. Fluoride poses a significant risk to the kidneys. And commonly used food dyes pose risks which include hyperactivity in children, cancer (in animal studies), and allergic reactions. Even the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an organization that supports nuking food, agrees with this. And the British government and European Union have taken actions that are virtually ending the use of dyes throughout Europe.

The ADA is sponsored by the soda and junk food industries—which we feel greatly tarnishes the organization’s credibility. And you may recall that the ADA has mounted a state-by-state campaign to make sure that its Commission is the only one which will be accepted as a credentialing body for both registered dietitians and nutritionists.

There are, of course, significant philosophical differences between nutritionists and dietitians—they represent two different fields of study and practice. By accepting only a single credentialing agency—one run by the dietitians, not nutritionists—state boards are establishing a “one-size-fits-all” standard which removes all competition, essentially handing the ADA a government mandated monopoly over nutritional therapy.

Unfortunately, the Nevada bill we told you about last month passed both the Assembly and the Senate and was signed by the governor on June 5th. While some amendments were made, the most troubling parts of the bill still remain: only registered dietitians can practice “dietetics,” which is defined by the law to include nutrition assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, counseling, intervention, monitoring and treatment—everything that a good nutritionist does and should do.

We also told you about an ADA bill in New York, S.3556. The state’s Senate Finance Committee met on June 13 and decided to pass the bill to the Rules Committee so that it could be considered on the Senate floor. They are trying to rush these bills through, because next week the Assembly is scheduled to finish its work for the year, unless the chair calls a special session in the fall. Please click on our New York Action Alert here.

The ADA’s power grab is a complete travesty. We will keep fighting it state by state until we restore competition in nutritional counseling and stop gagging PhD-trained nutritionists who don’t become dietitians.

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Selling Candy To Kids


November 18, 2011

Selling Candy to Kids

To combat the rise in childhood obesity, Congress in 2009 asked the Federal Trade Commission and three other government agencies to create voluntary nutritional standards for foods that are marketed to children. In April, the interagency group released sound recommendations to guide self-regulation by the food industry.

After public comment, however, an F.T.C. official recently told a House subcommittee that the agency would substantially modify the guidelines to account for industry complaints. That would be bad news for the health of children in this country.

Lobbyists for the food industry, which spends almost $2 billion a year on advertising and marketing to children and adolescents, have been busy in recent months trying to squash the voluntary standards. Although these standards would not be enforceable, there is value to having a good set of criteria that could guide the industry.

The interagency group’s original proposal outlined limits on the amount of unhealthful ingredients like added sugars and trans fat in foods advertised to children and proposed increased nutritious ingredients like whole grains and low-fat dairy products. It covered marketing to young people ages 2 through 17 and focused on 10 food categories that take up a big share of children’s diets, including sugary cereals, snack foods, candy, carbonated beverages and fast foods.

Now the F.T.C. staff says the guidelines should not apply to ads directed at adolescents ages 12 through 17, except in in-school marketing activities. They also said the voluntary standards would not cover seasonal candies.

While a few companies like Mars and Hershey have limited commercials for candy or other sweets to very young children, the industry’s self-policing efforts have been weak. One study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that ads for unhealthy foods accounted for 86 percent of the food ads on television and the Web in 2009, only a modest improvement from 94 percent in 2003. Instead of giving in to lobbyists, the Obama administration should be doing more to limit the way unhealthy foods are sold to children.