Much like the Seasonal Cicadas, now’s that time of the year when Dietitians across the U.S. descend on the Golden state to talk about exactly what you’d expect. This year, of all places, the annual California Dietetic meeting is being held in Santa Clara, just a skip away from my hometown. Unfortunately I, being a lowly intern, wasn’t able to take the time off to visit. However, things aren’t exactly peachy there either.
See the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is going through a period of, well, “finding itself”. By that I mean they’re trying to get larger while at the same time not “selling out”. Smells like teen spirit to me.
Outside of the industry, you’d hardly know there’s internal turmoil. Inside, however, is a hectic back and forth between Dietitians for Professional Integrity (DFPI) and whoever is in charge of accepting sponsors. See one of a handful of Gold sponsors at this years CDA is, of all companies, McDonalds.
I’m sure you can already sense why this rubs many the wrong way. To those of us inside the industry, it seems like a conflict of interest. What if McDonalds pressures RDs to start recommending the Healthy Choice menu to patients trying to lose weight? That’s just a worst-case-scenario but in all honesty it doesn’t give the best impression.
From a neutral perspective I think that few people outside of the industry even realize the AND has money coming in from McDonalds. Additionally, it’s possible that non-RDs who do know don’t really care. I mean McDonalds funds childrens foundations and nobody has ever said a word about it. However, when competing with hundreds of thousands of non-credentials “nutritionists”, RDs become easy prey for attacks if we have a conflicting message. I really can see where both sides are coming from and for that reason, I haven’t completely made up my mind on this.
I guess time will tell what happens. Until then I’m curious, how many of you care whether Dietetic conventions have money coming in from Big Food sponsors? Vote in the poll below!
Enjoy the weekend and be good to each other.