18 Responses to “American dietitians, big ‘food’ companies & conflict of interest”

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  1. avatar Nicola says:


    Thanks so much! That’s brilliantly helpful. I’m sticking with the Harcombe diet :-)


  2. avatar Nicola says:

    Hi Zoe

    I’ve been following your diet – it’s working fantastically, I’m really happy with it and have recommended it to anyone that will listen!

    I was wondering however whether you have seen any of the info on alkaline diets? They seem to say that eating meat and dairy have an acid effect on the body and can be ageing. Any views you might have would be much appreciated.



    • avatar Zoë says:

      Hi Nicola – many thanks for your kind words. Below are some notes from a journalist request I helped with on alkaline diets:
      Hope these help
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      a) The body needs to maintain a pH balance of 7.4 at all times. Moving even 0.5 points away from this can be fatal. Hence the body manages this perfectly for us and will do so, no matter what we eat.

      b) The alkaline diet (being trialled by the journo) was vegan and, by definition, does therefore not provide retinol, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, vitamin K2 or heme iron. Additionally, many vitamins and minerals are extremely difficult to get in a vegan diet e.g. vitamin D, unless the person eats 2.2kg of sunshine grown mushrooms, in a fat delivery mechanism (e.g. olive oil) daily.

      c) Any diet that cuts out all processed food is good – The Alkaline Diet has this in its favour. However, it also cuts out the most nutritious foods – meat, fish, eggs and dairy – and it has no means of delivering complete proteins as a result.

      d) The natural diet to which we evolved – hunter/gatherer – would have delivered acid foods in the form of meat/fish/animals and alkaline foods in the form of any vegetation available and this would have given us natural balance. Interestingly, most nuts and seeds are also acid based foods. Hence, during cold periods with no vegetation, all of our food intake would have been acidic – this has not been a problem for the body (indeed the main acid in our stomach is hydrochloric acid – a pretty corrosive substance!)

      Having read “Wheat Belly” (Dr William Davis) on the day that the journalist called was very timely, as I had not realised the extreme acidity of wheat, as a food. Here’s a useful colour chart (part way down the page) to show the alkalinity vs. acidity of different foods (http://www.pureliquidgold.com/acid-alkaline-forming-foods.htm) Sugar is described as “acid” and wheat, white flour and pasta as “most acid.”

      It was the description given by Dr Davis, as to how the body deals with our extraordinary and unprecedented consumption of wheat that shocked me. When confronted with this load of acidity, the body draws from any alkaline stores available to compensate. Such stores include bicarbonate in the blood stream and alkaline calcium salts such as calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate in bones. “Because maintaining a normal pH is so crucial, the body will sacrifice bone health to keep pH stable.” OMG!

      When I met with the heads of Public Health Wales, one of their major concerns was the striking increase in osteoporosis and bone breaks and joint replacements (hips and knees) being needed as never before. Dear Public Health Wales – another consequence of your “base you meals on starchy foods” advice!
      Carbonated, sugary, drinks are another significant dietary source of acid. “The constant draw on calcium from bones is associated with fivefold increased fractures in high school girls who consume the most carbonate colas.” (Chapter 8, ref 1 Wheat Belly)

      Davis also explains that animal foods, although on the acidic side of the food table, are not as harmful to pH balance as this would suggest. Protein rich meats have other effects that partially negate the acid load. “Animal protein exerts a bone-strengthening effect through stimulation of the hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which triggers bone growth and mineralisation.”

      A university of Toronto study examined the effect of increasing gluten consumption from bread on the level of calcium lost in the urine. “Increased gluten intake increased urinary calcium loss by an incredible 63%” (Chapter 8, ref 15)

  3. avatar Diane Smith says:

    Hi Zoe – have you seen the latest misinformation campaign ‘Fight the Fads’ that the British Dietetic’s Association are ‘proudly’ backing?

    It is being run by The Healthy Food Guide magazine and looks to me like a vague and veiled attempt to make sure people don’t try things like low carb or wheat free diets. One of the give aways of their true agenda being ‘Atkins diet’ listed as the first keyword in their search tags.

    Link to the campaign: http://healthyfoodguideuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/fight-fads.html
    Link to BDA’s statement of support: http://www.bda.uk.com/

    • avatar Zoë says:

      Hi Diane – good find! And the top tip against fad diets is to follow the eatbadly plate! If it weren’t so dangerous, it would be funny! Don’t cut carbs but instead have them as the majority of your food intake so that you get fat and sick – here’s how!

      Best wishes – Zoe

  4. avatar Janet says:

    I have been a Registered Clinical Dietitans for over 10 years in the hospital setting. It is disheartening to see how newly trained Dietitans are being directed towards drug based / symptom based nutrition therapy. Their knowledge in holistic nutrition minimal due to the influence of multinational food companies agendas. Dietitans are now being trained for treating the symptoms and side effects of chronic disease and cancer vs disease prevention. The ADA is not funding any research in regard to the health risks of genetically modified foods and pesticides because they are sponsored by companies such as nestle and Kellogg’s who GMO foods.
    It is important for new Dietitans to think outside of the box. All Dietitans and future Dietitans should question their professional body about why multinational food and drug companies are heavily involved in nutritional politics.

    • avatar Zoë says:

      Hi Janet – you have no idea how much real foodies love thinking dieticians! You have the power, you have the position, you have the potential to make such a difference to the health of others and the biggest tragedy is having such a committed ‘army’ who are pushing plates and pyramids and not real food. The ones who question the messages and who is behind them are brave and bold. Can you imagine what could be achieved if every dietician was pushing the real food message!
      Thanks so much for what you do
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  5. avatar Dave says:

    Here is a great video of what it looks like inside an international dietetics conference. Now we now why dietitians promote GMO foods.,


  6. avatar John Roberts says:

    I see that this story has the usual suspects in denial, rather than admit they could be wrong:


  7. avatar Tom Welsh says:

    Every cloud has a silver lining! Just think of the sheer immensity of the class action suit that is waiting to be launched in a few years, when it is finally accepted that sugar is about has harmful as tobacco and that government nutrition advice has been actually harmful for 30 years or more.

  8. avatar Tim King says:

    Zoe, it makes perfect sense that Big Food would be heavily involved in nutritional politics. (Ugh.) A point that I suspect many people fail to keep in mind. (Gary Taubes’s latest books strongly impressed this obvious-but-overlooked point on my consciousness.) I think your suspicion (if I understand it) is right, that these companies support the dietary and nutrition power structure in order to protect their interests. Part of the damage is the government-enforced monopoly that results, e.g., as in Steve Cooksey’s lawsuit (currently being appealed), which I don’t believe you’ve mentioned here before.

    Thought-provoking post.

  9. avatar Al Reeves says:

    Hi, I just joined. I just lost 17 kg in weight over the last year and stopped debilitating bouts of gout. I now each mostly vegetables, salads, and natural meat, cheese and eggs. Never been healthier!

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