Who sponsors the Dietitians Association of Australia? Posted on March 21, 2014

I know I am probably going to receive a whole lot of backlash for this post, but I know for every negative response, I will receive 20 positive, so I am happy to take the punches. 

I was recently reading through a “health” magazine and came across an article titled ‘Are Diet Soft-Drinks Really That Bad?’. The article presented two opinions; firstly, a Naturopath argued that all diet soft-drinks were terrible for you (which if you read the research, you will understand why). On the opposite side of the page was the opinion of an accredited Australian Dietitian who argued that diet soft-drinks were a great option for people trying to lose weight. As I continued to read through the article (and this particular dietitian’s promotion of diet soft-drinks), I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I felt a kind of rage building up inside of me. I went looking for answers. 

A large portion of the population looks to the Australian Dietitian’s Association for a whole lot of guidance when it comes to choosing what is right or wrong for ourselves and our family. But who calls the shots?

A quick search of the major sponsoring partners (this can be found on the DAA website) offers some clue as to where this recommendation may have stemmed from: 

unilever

nestlecampbells

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief explanation of the foods these companies sell include Flora Margarine, Streets Ice-Cream, KitKat, Musashi, Rexona, Dove, Maggi’s, Uncle Toby’s and Jenny Craig… just to name a few. For a full list of the products these companies supply, jump on over to their respective websites. 

According to the DAA the reason they seek partnerships with these companies is to in part “provide accurate and practical nutrition information to the Australian public and support public nutrition education programs.”

If you were to put yourself in the shoes of these sponsoring companies, would you consider promoting the research that tells the world your product’s and their ingredients may have adverse health effects? It’s not likely. 

If you thought that was bad, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Kelloggs, Unilever and SoyJoy are the major partners of the American Dietetics Association. The major sponsoring partners of the American Society of Nutrition include all of the above and more, including ‘The Sugar Association’… hrrrmmm. 

Before you disregard all of the work being done in the US, remember a large proportion of the nutritional guidelines set here in Australia are influenced by the work done in the states. 

The solution? Do your own research; or even better… Just Eat Real Food. 



21 thoughts on “Who sponsors the Dietitians Association of Australia?

  1. Gen Co-cliff on Facebook

    Delve into pharmaceutical companies, vaccine trials/research. Same same.

  2. Gwenda

    Hi Alyse,
    Fantastic comment,for all who give negative feedback they are not well versed so really shouldn’t speak at all. You are right in every aspect. I educate in this arena all the time trying to get people to listen and change their habits is like pulling teeth. But those who do and who are willing to learn and listen make it all worthwhile.
    Keep up the great work 🙂

    1. Alyse Post author

      Thanks so much for your reply Gwenda. Totally agree with you watching those who do change their views become all the more empowered is worth every negative comment x 100 🙂 We just have to keep soldiering on! xxx

  3. Jules

    I read this sort of claptrap all the time! The last time there was some article in a well-known online newspaper about how chocolate is good for health. Sure, but there was no mention of the TYPE of chocolate, so anyone would take it that a daily Mars Bar has health benefits!

    It was so irresponsible.

    This sort of advice and sponsorship gives me that absolute sh#ts. You’re not alone at all and I agree with every word of this article. Well done for articulating it simply and without any drama.

    1. Alyse Post author

      I hear you Julia! Sometimes it makes me even more frustrated when those who study nutrition and dietetics use the profession to promote this kind of thing. I learnt so much by doing my own research. I hope we can encourage more people to do the same!

  4. Clare Holberton

    Thanks for getting this information out Alyse – it all helps to open people’s minds and educate people who are misinformed.
    This does make me SO angry and I know that Pharmacuetical companies also work with the same sort of principles…
    Let’s hope that with more people reading blogs such as your’s, that there can be a mind shift and more awareness of the ‘real world’.
    Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy the two weeks ‘off’. 🙂
    Clare xx

    1. Alyse Post author

      Hi Clare,
      Unfortunately it stems across so many industries, including those who promote the use of chemicals and pesticides sprays on our food. Unfortunately money talks!
      Without the support of beautiful people like you, this blog would only be reaching a small few. Couldn’t have done it without you all.
      It’s going to be a HUGE 2 weeks but can’t wait to share it with you all. Have a wonderful weekend xxx

  5. Alix Lix on Facebook

    I’m a nurse and work with many patients with dietician input. I have to say I disagree with a large amount if it. My dad has cancer and I also disagree hugely with the dietician advice he’s given- basically eat high fat junk food! It’s terrible

    1. Alyse Post author

      Alix, I am really sorry to hear about your father. Stories like this really frustrate me as the message being delivered can often be completely and utterly distorted by the power of big business.

      I only recently visited a friend who was staying min 4 nights in the hospital after an infection. I managed to cook and prepare all of meals full of real food. The dietician frowned upon my choices, but my friend stood her ground. Within 24 hours the doctor couldn’t believe her rate of recovery and she was out of there 2 nights earlier than expected. There is so much to be said for the power of real food!

  6. Tony

    Thanks for speaking the truth Alyse!!
    One of my friends saw a dietician recently, and told her that diet ice cream is a good
    everyday option. “It’s DIET”.
    I couldn’t believe it. Sure, everything in moderation I suppose.. Many of these dieticians may focus on calories, and cutting calories will generally help their clients drop a few kg – but at what cost?
    Quality of food should be a priority over calories. I also feel that the body isn’t a calculator, so we shouldn’t obsess over specific calorie numbers – JERF! as you said!

    1. Alyse Post author

      Hi Tony,
      Hearing stories like this make me so mad. Too many people are counting calories and not enough people are counting chemicals.

  7. megan

    Hi Alyse,

    I am a dietitian and agree somewhat with this article. However I think you have missed the point of the message the dietitian was trying to get across. If someone is obese and trying to lose weight it’s not as easy as just cutting out sugar for these people, as drinking soft drink is like a learnt behaviour and i’m sure you’ve read research that in some instances can be as addictive as smoking for these people. I think what you really need to consider is what is the lesser evil – consuming all that sugar on a daily basis or replacing it with a sweetner in the hope that down the track their behaviour change will result in them not needing the sweeteners at all. I’m not promoting the use of sweetners at all, however for some people they may need to make small diet changes slowly, to maintain better health in the long run.

    1. Alyse Post author

      Hi Megan,

      Thanks for your comment. I really do appreciate your feedback however, I’m afraid I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. The story had no reference to the various metabolic and physiologic disturbances caused by artificial sweeteners, nor did it make reference to the studies that have argued artificial sweeteners may actually result in further weight gain. This article simply labelled diet soft-drink as a tool for people wanting to lose weight. If this is is a method this particular dietician chooses to use on a case by case basis, I strongly believe it should not be promoted to the public in a forum that left this advice completely open to interpretation.

      In no way was my post designed to label all dietitians negatively, it was merely an attempt to encourage readers to do their own research rather than take advice as gospel. I truly believe that by working together, we can help improve the health of the nation much faster and much more effectively than we can alone.

      Thanks again for your feedback x

  8. Chris

    Hi Alyse,

    I would have to agree with Megan on this. In the “real” world simply telling people to cut out diet drinks all together does not work. There needs to be a medium. I am a dietitian and a good proportion of my work is treating patients with chronic disease. I am not a fan of “diet” drinks/foods or the like however, if you were to simply tell your clients to cut it out entirely (no matter how much “evidence” you have to say its bad) that person will probably never come back! I’m sure you have had a few of these clients in the past.

    It’s about making small changes to a persons diet that result in long-term gains in health. If swapping a soft drink with a “diet” variety will work with the patient in the short term than I think it is fine. The long term goal would be to eliminate the diet drink altogether. This is why dietitians are so successful, we work with the patients current lifestyle and make small, manageable changes.

  9. Elanor

    You think it’s terrible advice, because you don’t know the reasons behind the advice. When it comes to cancer, and other disorders causing metabolic stress, it’s about providing two main things. Number 1 is energy and number 2 is protein. Protein-energy malnutrition is actually one of the most common causes of death in cancer patients, more common than the cancer itself causing death. Apart from the disease itself, the side effects from treatment is often nausea/vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia, taste changes and loss of appetite. It may also include difficulties to eat e.g. for head/neck/gastrointestinal tumors. Like it or not, high fat junk foods are high in energy and often protein (for example dairy desserts). This is what these patients need, because it tastes good and so it is more likely the patient will consume those type of foods. It is a short term solution for a very bad problem. High fat junk foods are NOT part of the recommendations for a cancer-protective diet, but it’s quite different when you are already in the disease state. Then it’s essentially life support, like it or not. I hope your dad pulls through.

  10. KarenAPD25

    Dietitians are the most qualified people to handle cancer patient diets. There is nothing wrong with flora margarine and sugar substitutes. Flora is much better then adding coconut oil or butter which contain saturated fats linke to heart disease. It is amazing how much mis information is out there. Go the DAA website for real information from Practicing Dietitians. Look for APD credential.

  11. Sharron G, Dietitian

    Wow great post Alyse! Thankyou!! Great to see someone who actually cares about the real issues behind our health care associations.

    I have been a practicing Dietitian for many years and am appalled with shameless international junk food sponsors of the DAA. Sponsors like Pepsi, Flora margarine, pesticide soaked GM canola oil, and Nestle who own Phizer actually provide continuing education units for Dietitans. And yes, Mc Donalds and Mars bar are always major sponsors at our meetings.

    Most Dietitans will go to the DAA website for gospel truth forgetting that it is bias toward the companies that sponsor them.

    I would have to disagree with the post above by KarenAPD25. The DAA states that artificial sweeteners are not a healthy risk while they have been proven to cause weight gain, cancer in animals, fatty liver disease and neurological problems similar to MS. Now tell me how that could not be a health risk?…..

    All Dietitans and the public should join group called Dietitians for Professional Integrity who are speaking out against the corruption with Dietetic Associations and demanding new guidelines to be set.

    Dietitians for professinal integrity are demanding issues to be discussed such as pesticide and GMO food health risks as well as the importance of organic foods which the DAA does not endorse. Also to end Junk food sponcored CEC cources.

    Please see their site:

    https://www.facebook.com/DietitiansForProfessionalIntegrity?fref=ts
    http://integritydietitians.org/

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1syFbAjWhFP9SUSW2KFRqJB31vYphfA_ig38oUNORN9E/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1

    All the best
    Sharron.

  12. Lou Cypher

    “Feeling the hairs on the back of your neck” is far superior than getting in the lab and testing things out in a scientific manner. Keep up the great work.

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