What happened: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics lobbies Congress and serves on advisory committees to shape national food policy. The group represents over 112,000 dietitians and publishes a scientific journal on diet. Newly released documents reveal problematic ties.
An unhealthy relationship: Between 2011 and 2017, the organization took $15 million in donations from highly processed and junk food companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Hershey, Kellogg, and more. It’s also invested in these companies and others, holding millions of dollars worth of PepsiCo, Nestlé, and J.M. Smucker stock. The Academy said that these claims are misleading and that little of its funding comes from these sources.
It was leaked: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is a private organization. Therefore, despite its massive influence over American food policy, its financial records are shielded from the public. We only know about these findings because documents were accidentally leaked.
Why it matters: As America continues to break obesity records, many institutions established to protect the public’s health are compromised by conflicts of interest. Just recently, the leader of the White House Conference on Nutrition promoted sugary breakfast cereals as healthy, claiming Lucky Charms is a better option than boiled eggs.