Conflict of Interest : The TRUTH about the Food Industry and Nutrition Education
US and UK Dietiticans are educated that a low fat, low calorie diet is the answer to the obesity epidemic. It isn’t. They are also educated that you will lose 1lb fat for every deficit of 3,500 cals. You won’t. They are also educated that energy in = energy out. It doesn’t. So why is the media and the national educational curriculum for our Dieticians and Nutritionists so wrong??

Question EVERYTHING and don’t believe the media – EVER.

These ‘facts’ are part of their curriculum. But I have spent years studying the data, publications and scientific research. Because I HAVE to know where information comes from. So I look at the sources. And then I look at the sources of the sources. And then I look at the SPONSORS of the sources of the sources.

And this is what I find:

1) Coca-Cola are a major sponsor of the American Dietetic Association

2) They were also sponsors of the UK Association for the Study of Obesity

3) Currently Kellogg’s is a Sponsor for the UK Association for the study of Obesity along with low calorie diet organisations such as Lighter Life, the pharmaceutical industry and a company that specialises in gastric surgery.

4) Coca-cola is also a sustaining member of the British Nutrition Foundation

5) The UK Eatwell plate (which I call the Eat HELL plate) was originally BRANDED by Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Premier Foods. Currently the brands have been removed but you will still find a packet of cornflakes in the 30% segment and a can of cola in the 8% segment. I read the guidelines from the NHS website on the EatHELL plate and had to stop as my blood started boiling…

6) This month, the World Health Organisation took £230,000 from Coca-cola, Ben and Jerry’s, Nestle and Unilever to fill profit gaps and as a result have been relying on such food companies for advice on how to fight obesity. Call me presumptious, but I doubt the advice would have anything to do with the avoidance of sugar and processed foods. So they probably desperately latch onto the “animal fats will kill you” bandwagon.

7) Abbot Nutrition is a sponsor of Diabetes UK and the UK Association for the Study of Obesity. A little bit about Abbott:

A subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories, they are one of the world’s largest infant formula producers. They manufacture an infant formula containing cane sugar and sucrose known to be unsuitable for newborns. These additives are banned from infant formulas in Europe. Abbott have marketing strategies so aggressive that they breach WHO legislation on the marketing of baby formulas.

8) Abbott Nutrition also sponsor Education Courses for the BDA (so for our Country’s Registered Dieticians and Nutritionists) as do the pharmaceutical industry and Coca-Cola. I was horrified to read Abbott’s dietary guidelines about managing diabetes on their Diabetes Care website which places emphasis on avoiding saturated fats and ABSOLUTELY NO RECOMMENDATIONS about avoiding sugar or high sugar processed foods whatsoever.

9) The British Dietetic Assoctaion flatly DENIES that eating too much sugar causes Diabetes. This is stated clearly on their Sugar Factsheet. Their sugar fact sheet suggests that the only health issues with too much sugar is tooth decay. It is nothing short of shocking.

10) The Sponsors of the British Dietetic Association are kept securely under wraps and this information is only available to its members. However we do know that one of them is the Sugar Bureau. Of course it is.

11) The BDA annual report Profit and Loss Accounts showed a turnover of just under £2.5 million and profits of just under £2 million without detailing the sources of this revenue. This information is only available to its members.

12) Unilever is one of the sustaining members of the British Nutrition Foundation. So is Danone, Kellogg’s, the HCGA (the cereals divisions of the Agriculture Development Board) and DairyCo. The HCGA and DairyCo are levying bodies sponsored by Defra (the government’s Food and Agriculture Department). So they have a vested interest in implementing promotional campaigns to encourage the consumption of grains and dairy products for government subsidies. ALL of these organisations implemented food education initiatives in schools last year through teacher training and pupil involvement. They were HUGE education programmes. THEY ARE STARTING THEM YOUNG. No prizes for guessing Kellogg’s recommendations in the “Healthy Breakfast” initiative. Your children attend these schools.

13) Other member companies include: British Sugar Plc, Mars, Macdonald’s, Greggs, Pepsico, Nestle Coca-Cola and the list goes on and on….it’s available to read on their Annual Report. A recent survey identified that the majority of Reistered Dietitians considered Coca-Cola, Pepsico and Mars to be “unacceptable” sponsors. I can’t think why.

14) Nestle have sponsored a large IT programme for the British Nutrition Foundation which delivers online courses for training on food and nutrition.

15) NABIM represents virtually 100% of the UK’s flour and wheat industry. They are major investors in the British Nutrition Foundation.

16) I’d hate to think who the BNF Scientific Advisory Committee and Educational Working Group Members work for, but you can guess can’t you.

17) The Heart Truth is an American initiaitive launched in 2002 and is still ongoing, to make women more aware of the dangers of heart disease. Two of its sponsors are Cheerios and Diet Coke. If you google images on this campaign the irony is so in your face it just seems utterly absurd.


So what are we supposed to do with this information? These are revelations that tell you the truth about how the food industry works and how our children and “Nutritional Experts” are being educated about food and health. When the promotional messages we read seem to be from credible sources, it is so very hard not to be misled. But that is why we have an obesity epidemic and a nation of confused and deeply disappointed individuals desperately trying to lose weight.

Well there is always the common sense approach with food. If it’s as nature intended, and you’re keeping portions realistic, then you’re doing OK. If it comes in a box or a package, READ the ingredients. You have that responsibility to your own body. But I would urge you to consider the following because we have a global problem and it’s starting with your children at school:

The NHS, BDA, Nutrition Society and BNF are behind most of the media’s messages on food and health as well as local government campaigns in schools and other establishments. They are also responsible for health initiatives in schools. Start to question some of these messages, or at least be aware that the ultimate message comes from huge, sugar-dependent corporations with aggressive, legislatively dubious marketing campaigns with no interest in health but an unshakeable allegiance to their shareholders.