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Saturday, 30 May 2015

Dietitians dishing you up a daily menu of unhealthy advice?

It’s an issue of growing concern globally: Big Food’s influence on public health policy – and your health and mine – through its proxies: orthodox-trained dietitians. In South Africa, the spotlight is on the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA, a voluntary group of registered dietitians), and the antics of its executive committee. ADSA exco appears to have appropriated moral authority on who we should all listen to on what products we should buy and eat for our health’s sake. That wouldn’t be quite so worrying, were it not for ADSA’s close ties with the food industry. I can’t take any nutrition body seriously that is in bed with companies responsible for many of the products blamed for epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer and other chronic diseases sweeping the planet. And when its advice is based on weak science (epidemiological and associational), with effects that are shockingly clear to the naked eye: epidemics of the very same chronic diseases sweeping the globe.

Top British investigative health journalist Jerome Burne wrote a scathing blog recently titled:Cuddly dietitians in cosy embrace of industry fat cats. It’s a disturbing read with parallels for this country. I’d prefer to think it’s by default rather than design that some dietitians in SA act as proxies for powerful, intrusive, influential, and invasive vested interests and help to ‘health wash’ their products. The consumer action group Grass has been looking into ADSA on that score for many months now, and found it wanting. In the first of series of posts, Grass member Sonia Mountford looks at ADSA’s links with Big Food and why we should all be worried. After all, as the ancient Ayurvedic proverb goes: When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is right, medicine is of no need. – Marika Sboros

More on this story here.


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