Is the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) in bed with Big Food? It’s nearly two years since US public health lawyer Michele Simon first raised the question. She worded it slightly differently at the time. Her answer was an unequivocal “yes” in And Now A Word From Our Sponsors in February 2015. But has anything changed in the interim?
DAA says that it is not in bed with Big Food now and never has been. It claims that its sponsors – “partners”, it prefers to call them – have no influence on the advice it dishes out. It also claims to take “great care to guard against conflict of interest”.
Its critics say otherwise. They say that DAA is heavily conflicted and has been for decades. Critics also say that DAA is little more than a front for the food industry. Read on and make up your own mind.
DAA calls itself the country’s “peak nutrition body”. That’s wishful thinking, say critics. What is clear is that it is a voluntary association of nutrition professionals, with branches in each state and territory and around 6,200 members. Thus, it is relatively small yet extraordinarily influential.
You don’t have to love dogs to appreciate the brilliance of this book on canine obesity, but it helps. It makes it easier to see why Dogs, Dog Food, and Dogma really is a riveting read. One reason is the subtitle: The Silent Epidemic Killing America’s Dogs and the New Science That Could Save Your Best Friend’s Life.
It reveals the bare bones of the raison d’etre: evidence-based solutions to the epidemic of canine obesity.
Another reason is that this book isn’t just about canine obesity. It’s also about another global epidemic: of human adipose tissue. That’s the medical profession’s euphemism for excess fat. This book looks at why obesity shortens lives, whether canine or human. And why even moderate obesity in dogs is more dangerous for them than smoking is in humans.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines were born of good intentions. They were created to make Americans healthier.
The guidelines, however, were not inscribed on stone tablets and handed to mankind. Instead, they are the result of a bureaucratic process and, as such, are susceptible to dubious conclusions and adverse influence by activist groups.
In 2015, journalist Nina Teicholz conducted an investigation, published in BMJ, that criticized the dietary guidelines for being based on “weak scientific standards” and “vulnerable to internal bias as well as outside agendas.”
Yesterday, the BMJ officially announced that it won’t retract a “controversial” 2015 article by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, author of NYT best-seller The Big Fat Surprise.
Following a lengthy investigation lasting over a year, the BMJ said that two independent reviewers “found no grounds for retraction,” and that Teicholz’s criticisms of the methods used by the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) “are within the realm of scientific debate.”
As reported on this blog and The Sidebar (my US blogging buddy Peter M. Heimlich’s crack investigative journalism blog), Washington-DC based advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) – in bed with prominent members of the DGAC – aggressively campaigned to get the article retracted.