The War for Nutrition Science Integrity

November 23, 2010
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evil contractOne nutrition organization looks to be in the pocket of Big Pharma and the worst of the junk food manufacturers. Another organization has been a more independent voice for nutrition. Guess which one is attempting to swallow the other?

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN), the largest society for nutrition researchers in the US, openly receives support from pharmaceutical companies like Abbott Nutrition and Martek Biosciences, genetic engineering and pesticide giant Monstanto, food processor ConAgra, and junk food suppliers and producers Coca-Cola, Mars, Kraft, McDonald’s, General Mills, and Kellogg’s, not to mention the Sugar Association, Inc. (among many others).

Think about that: an organization claiming “excellence in nutrition research and practice” receives major funding from companies making drugs, pesticides, and some of the most health-damaging foods on the planet. It must be greatly influenced by those companies’ worldviews.

Case in point: ASN manages the Smart Choices food labeling system, designed and paid for by the nation’s major food manufacturers to “help people make choices about healthier food.” Yet you’ll find a “Smart Choice” seal of approval on boxes of Froot Loops breakfast cereal, which is made of 41% sugar, partially-hydrogenated oils, and artificial coloring and chemicals—which prompted a popular website to give ASN its Integrity Disgrace Award.

ASN is openly dismissive of organic foods, as this video on their website clearly demonstrates.

A competing organization, the American College of Nutrition (ACN), was established in 1959 to advance the scientific investigation of nutrition. It publishes a journal (which the Department of Health and Human Services accepted into Medline, the National Library of Medicine’s premier bibliographic database). The organization is also largely free from Big Food and Pharma funding, having received only one $5,000 gift from Big Food in the last several years, in sharp contrast to ASN.

In August, ACN’s board of directors voted to merge with ASN, though the merger has not yet been consummated. Last week, a class action lawsuit was filed by ACN members to halt the merger, claiming that the process “wrongfully attempted to disenfranchise ACN’s members and deny them a vote” on the merger, in violation of Delaware corporation law.

On Friday, November 19th, the judge ordered both organizations to stop all further actions on the merger pending a hearing scheduled for late December. Veteran healthcare/health freedom attorney Rick Jaffe is representing the plaintiff class, assisted by local Delaware counsel Jessica Zeldin.

Why is this lawsuit important? If we’re going to reform the medical establishment so that it turns away from harmful drugs and expensive and often unnecessary procedures, we have to approach that reform from a nutritional point of view. And to do that, it is vital that we have science-based nutrition research that has independence and integrity, free from influence by Big Pharma or Big Food. ASN seems to us to be clearly in the pocket of those stakeholders, and so does the American Dietetic Association (ADA). If special interests control both research (ASN) and practitioners (ADA), we have a worst-case scenario on our hands.

It is absolutely essential that there be an independent voice. The future of ACN is important for American nutrition, which in turn is enormously important for American medicine—which (not to put too fine a point on it) is important for the future of the country.

24 Responses to “The War for Nutrition Science Integrity”

  1. You really make it appear so easy together with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be really one thing which I believe I would by no means understand. It seems too complicated and very wide for me. I’m looking forward for your subsequent publish, I’ll try to get the dangle of it!


  2. Lotto Black Book says:

    Easyy.(:* I hate this qamee.(:* It has no challenqe at all.(:* I qot like 35 words.(:*


  3. Dorotha Darbonne says:

    I’m a member of almost all the sites you’ve listed and like them all a lot. I haven’t had as much luck as Lee up there (at least I don’t think so.. I don’t keep track like he does), but I also don’t have time to spend 2-3 hours each day doing surveys. I usually spend a couple hours on my days off to do them, and by then, a lot of the surveys I have waiting for me have expired. Oh well. The only site you listed that I’ve ever had problems with was Opinion Outpost, and that was just a weird happening where I was deactivated out of nowhere. But I wrote to them and asked what was up and they fixed it very quickly and I haven’t had any problems with them since.


  4. What is happening in “health” care, big agribusiness, and politics is positively frightening. We have become surrounded by a world of dumbed-down, greedy individuals with character disorders. These are the activities of fascists pushing a collection of failing paradigms.


  5. Miriam Devlin,M.D. says:

    Thank you for making this information public. It is so important everyone understand the magnitude of this problem. Without the ACN and similar organizations there will be no way to combat the obesity issue in this country. We will be forced to just treat the whole issue with a multitude of drugs! Our children are the ones who will be further damaged by this outcome.


  6. Thank you for this article with its important information. We must all stand up and be counted in the battle against pharmaceutical junk, food junk and manipulated junk science. Good nutrition should be our civilisation’s foundation and a legacy to be bequeathed to future generations. Our health is being sold by scoundrels and bought by arch-criminals.


  7. The food that was here before civilzation took over was of the highest quality. Civilization has contaminated it. Let nature bring it back to its proper place and let technology only do machinery.


  8. Dennis Oberholtzer says:

    There needs to be a lawsuit against this type of fraud. Any company who has their greedy hands in a theological competitor’s fundbox, should be against the law. How can an American citizen differentiate between what they believe in and an evil they are trying to fight against. Our Government is supposed to run on ethical behavior. There is not one lick of ethical behavior in having pharmaceutical companies controlling one cent’s worth of organic food supplies. Where are our civil lawmakers? ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL AGAIN! THIS IS TOTALLY UNETHICAL!!!


  9. Lou says:

    “I will not abide by any decision made in Washington.”


    We are being ruled against our will by criminals.


  10. Larry Zimmerman says:

    This is all designed for attorneys to make money. Since they we given the ok to advertise, they havve been greedy and out of control. Speaking of control. What are the occupations of our Reps. and Sens. in Congress. In order to get fair JUSTICE any where, we have to get rid of the legal establishment in WASHINGTON, and vote some common sense people into office. Our Legal system sucks, as well as the Fed. because of these corrupt crooks. I am self employed and cannot vote me a raise. I pay into Soc. Sec. I am not on some special health plan. Until they get on the same plain as I am I will not abide by any decision made in Washington. Legal or for Health.


  11. Rtia Hanle says:

    I support the independence of ACN from ASN. If the nation is ever to get back to foods that are nutritious and emphazie low Glycemic indexes, it will need to excape the grobbing hands of the agri-growers. The farm subsidies also supports these big agri-growers to make all of this junk food more affordable for the growing poor and middle class. The next farm subsidies need to support fresh fruit and vegetable farmers so the growing ppor and middle class Americans can afford to eat more of these foods than the agri-junk food.


  12. patrica schiewe says:

    This is important because the ADA and ASN seem to be unable to tell the difference between a healthy product and one that will in the long run cause you harm. Like the health benefits of artificial sweeteners and irradiated food compared to cheese made carefully from raw milk.


  13. patrica schiewe says:

    Also many of our companies that market wholesome conscious products are bought by the big corporations and the products turned into dead junk marketed under the name of the purchased product which has a strong following. My favorite pet food EVO just been bought by Proctor and Gamble.


  14. Nico van den Berg says:

    This is absolutely correct. We don’t want Big Food and Big Pharma pose as our integer nutritional advisors. Thye are fooling enough people already. Good luck to the members of ACN and well done to the Alliance for Natural health to publicise this.


  15. h says:



  16. I agree that we need science-based nutrition research, free of influence by Big Pharma and special interests in general.


  17. lowell watson says:

    It is a shame what has been going on in this country. Is there not any ONE IN GOVERMENT any more that is for the people. Of couse that takes integrity, smarts and guts.. We have freedom to be coned by those who have the money to buy our freedom from us, the people. .


  18. Georgia says:

    The video made by American Nutrition failed to say “There is a BIG difference in the taste that enhances the flavor of good old home grown vegetables grown without pesticides nor chemicals.”
    I am 73 years old and I can STILL remember the taste,texture, & flavor of home- grown meats,fruits,raw milk and veggies when I was growing up.


  19. rawman says:

    Thanks for this article. We need to have more people reading and becoming aware of what is actually happening to our food and health.


  20. Brenda Ray says:

    “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” I don’t recall who said that, but it’s true. It looks like we’ll have to be extremely vigilant and vocal if we are to prevent our freedom of choice about nutrition from being eroded by Big Pharma, Big Food, and the FDA.

    I think there is too much government meddling in “regulating” our food and nutritional supplements. And I think our government is too easily bought by special-interest groups like Big Pharma.

    We have (supposedly) separation of church and state in our Constitution. Maybe there should be a Constitutional Amendment to separate corporation and state. It’ll never happen; too much money is involved.


  21. Ruth Reddaway says:

    Please do everything you can to support the class action lawsuit filed by ACN members to halt this disgraceful merger. You should have publicized the names of ACN’s board of directors who cooked up this unlawful (not to mention unethical) scheme. How disgusting to see what so many people will do for money. The finances of these directors should be investigated as I’m sure they were bought off to betray American medicine and science. What a despicable act.


  22. Deborah Oliphant says:

    Amazing – Big Pharma and Big Food paid off ACN’s board of directors. . . ACN’s members were indeed “hung out to dry.”


  23. Barbara Talbert says:

    I wish more people would realize that we , as Americans, are being deprived of our rights to clean and unadulterated food. This has to be one of the most important rights we are losing and not enough people are aware of the status of our food and the threats to it and to our health. I think you are doing a good job in helping but too many people that you talk to just don’t get it. Marketing and science, nutritional and otherwise, should not be on the same table together as it produces skewed science.


  24. Renee Lovato says:

    Shame on you for not being honest and out of integrity — not to mention greedy!


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