Should You Trust the FDA, Your Doctor, or Your Dietitian with Your Health?

Doctor

It’s recently come to my attention that some people, perhaps even my close friends and/or family, might think of me as a little bit of a conspiracy theorist. OK, maybe I’m just whacky when it comes to food and health. After all, “alternative” health has been synonymous for “quackery” for quite some time now—and I DO drink raw milk, which everyone knows makes your spleen glow in the dark so that aliens will come and abduct you.

However, I like to think that my craziness is just common sense. It doesn’t make sense that the government subsidizes the industries that produce foods it tells us are unhealthy (GM corn and soy, pasteurized dairy, sugar). It doesn’t make sense to poison your body in order to rid it of cancer. It doesn’t make sense that pesticides that kill bugs don’t harm people. And it doesn’t make sense that Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics holds nutrition courses for their dietitians sponsored by Coca-Cola, Mars, Hershey, Nestle, and Kraft. This is the nation’s largest group of professional nutritionists, learning about “healthy snacking” from Frito Lay.

And they aren’t happy about it: the majority of dietitians consider companies like these “unacceptable” sponsors, and that sponsorship implies endorsement of their products. It’s like the tobacco companies having to pay money to sponsor quitting smoking programs: sure, it’s good to promote health, but when is it just hypocritical to ignore that, no matter what you say, you’re still a major part of the problem?

But that’s what happens when you get BIG health organizations: the money from the wealthiest industries in America starts talking: Big Pharma and Big Agriculture. And we wouldn’t want to be “unfair” to these industries: “Ethan Bergman, PhD, RD, FADA, CD, and President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that continuing education classes ‘are examined to ensure that both sides of the topic are being presented.‘” After all, they are people, too.

Now, I read Fast Food Nation in college. Gross, I thought. But I’m not going to stop eating Taco Bell! And if that’s your attitude, I get it! I no longer eat fast food, but it’s not because I read a book or a blog post. I started educating myself out of my own desire to lose weight, which then morphed into a desire to avoid nasty, chronic diseases and to maintain maximum energy and vitality as I aged. And I discovered that there is something rotten at the very core of the governmental/medical/agricultural relationship in this country.

So call it a conspiracy theory if you like, but I think it’s time we stopped letting the “experts” tell us what to eat and started figuring it out for ourselves. The degrees after Ethan Bergman’s name alone shows that knowledge does not equal common sense. Our bodies are far more amazing that anything technology has come up with, but like technology, if used the wrong way they can wreak havoc with us.

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