New Campaign Seeks to Make Big Changes at the American Dietetic Association—RDs Speak Out!

reallyeatrightRegistered Dietitians are tired of their organization being financed by the junk food industry and Big Pharma. Now they’re starting to speak out. is the American Dietetic Association’s website. It claims to offer “food and nutrition information you can trust.” But can we really trust nutrition information from an organization that says sugar, fluoride, and artificial colors are safe for children?

We believe the ADA’s partnership with the junk food industry helps fuel the diabetes epidemic. If the ADA succeeds in its attempt to monopolize nutrition services, we will be left with nothing but a deep-fried and genetically modified junk-food-influenced nutrition profession.

In response, ANH-USA, Registered Dietitians, Certified Clinical Nutritionists, MDs, and concerned citizens have joined together to help launch to highlight how the ADA is working to undermine nutritionists—professional colleagues who also care passionately about health and food. We’re also trying to encourage the protection of nutrition services that can prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

The site is filled with informative articles, including an internal ADA document that specifically discusses eliminating competition in the field of nutrition. The same document plainly states the rationale for the organization’s multi-state legislative effort to monopolize nutritional therapy: because “existing legal and regulatory constraints on practice are unlikely to prevent robust, broad competition” in the “growth area” of nutrition and dietetics. It discusses “significant competitive threats” from holistic nutritionists and naturopathic physicians, as well as nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers.

The practice of dietetics is one of the many different modalities of nutritional therapy. Many RDs feel that dietitians—and particularly their certification body, the Commission on Dietetic Registration—should respect and compete with other nutrition professions and licensing bodies in the marketplace, and should not subvert competition by creating a government-sanctioned monopoly through legislation.

In fact, growing numbers of Registered Dietitians, dietetic students, and ADA members are gravely concerned about the direction of the ADA and the negative impact that direction will have on its 70,000 members. They believe the ADA’s partnerships with junk food companies and the pharmaceutical industry—and the payments it continues to receive from them—have severely damaged the organization’s independence and credibility, and have severely compromised the professional legitimacy of dietitians.

ADA receives payments from soft drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi, industrial food monolith Aramark, cereal manufacturers General Mills and Kellogg’s, candy makers Hershey and Mars, and Unilever, the multinational corporation that owns many of the world’s consumer products brands in foods and beverages. It also receives funding from Abbott Nutrition, a division of pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories (which makes Vicodin, a drug the FDA was advised in 2009 to take off the market because of overdoses and liver damage, and Meridia, the weight-loss drug which was withdrawn because it was both dangerous and ineffective). These are just some of the funders that are known.

“No group, especially one that receives payments from junk food companies, should monopolize the field of nutrition when there are many other healthcare professionals with advanced nutritional training. The ADA is creating a monopoly over the practice of nutritional therapy—to the detriment of consumer choice and our health,” said David Brownstein, MD, a board-certified family physician who uses nutritional therapies in his practice. “I’ve seen firsthand what the ADA considers ‘healthy food,’ and it is frightening to see their sugary and chemical-laden foods being given to people who are recovering from surgery,” said Dr. Brownstein.

RDs and consumers have good reason to be upset. Consider these facts:

You might be interested to know that come January, the American Dietetic Association is officially changing its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. According to their press release, “The new name complements the focus of the organization to improve the nutritional well-being of the public.” We wonder if it’s not just a bit of whitewashing—or worse, an attempt to steal “nutrition” as a profession from Certified Nutritionists. is designed to help RDs stand up and take back their profession from junk food companies, and to insist that their professional association start acting like a responsible partner in health instead of attempting to undermine their colleagues (nutritionists) through legislation. The site features Action Alerts designed specifically for Registered Dietitians and ADA members, as well as the general public. It currently has state-based initiatives for residents of New York and New Jersey!

It is our fervent hope that dietitians and nutritionists will be able to work together to improve the health of our citizens, without being weighed down by Big Pharma and junk food company interests. Our goal: To persuade 5,000 nutrition professionals and 25,000 citizens to sign the petitions, which we will deliver to the head of the ADA and request a response, with media documenting the event.

Please to go and sign the petitions today!


  1. Most RDs don’t really know about any nutrition except for what they learn from Big Food. They should be required to go to Holistic Nutrition school.

    1. I am a Regisered Dietitian and I agree with your statement. Registered dietitians are only educatied in chronic disesease managment or commmunity nututrition. They are not educated at all on holistic preventive health nutrition. Only establishment nurtiion. The average R.D. goes to the ADA resources for information which is heavily bias towards drug based theropy, the dairy industry, the wheat industry, the GMO indsutry, the sugar industry. I was very un happy with my training as a dietitian in reagard to real nutrition.
      I had to study holistic nutrition on my own for many years. An RD untrained in holistic medicin can actually cause major harm and put you at risk by not undersstanding the true power of natural medicine. The average RD thinks they know everything about nurtion but really are only triained how to treat patietnts in a hospital and manage the diatary department.

      1. I am a Washington State Certified Nutritionist. I hold a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, CT. I have been looking for work in an institutional setting for over a year and have been continually overlooked by these institutions because I do not hold an RD Bachelors degree. In what other profession does a Bachelors degree outweigh a Masters degree?
        I have many friends who are Registered Dietitians who seek me out when they are searching for current information on nutritional approaches toward healing. I am happy to discuss any information with them and offer my assisstance in any way possible. I am all about helping people reach optimal health through nutrition.
        I am very happy to hear about this organization and its motives. It is time to take those who perpetuate the occurrence of chronic disease in our society out of power. This organization has reached this level of corruption and should be dismantled. I stand with my fellow colleauges in the fields of nutrition and dietetics in undertaking such a task.

      2. Wow, Patriot Dietitian, I’m a CNS in New York City, and I have yet to come across a dietitian as enlightened as you. I wish other dietitians could see what you do, especially in New York. The ADA are trying to pass a bill that would outlaw any other professional from speaking about nutrition; from those of us with advanced degrees to those who work at Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. There are things that dietitians learn that holistic nutritionists don’t, and there are things that holistic nutritionists learn that dietitians don’t. Getting anyone to listen to the difference is such a chore. I’ve called my State reps so many times and have had everyone I know call as well, but it just seems fruitless. The ADA are somehow getting these laws passed under the radar from state to state, then call out that no other group has opposed. If this keeps happening, I’ll be sad to see what the future of nutrition will look like. I absolutely support more regulation in the industry because there are people who call themselves “Nutritionistas”, this is not someone I would ever take professional advice from. However, other credible professionals should not be outlawed.

      3. Wow… REALLY surprised that an educated RD would make such careless blanket statements about what RD’s learn… Because pretty much all of them are false, or misleading.
        “Only establishment nutrition.” Wrong. My required studies have involved traditional diets (e.g. Mediterranean and Asian diets), frontiers of nutritional science, and yes, alternative medicine. Unfortuantely, few alternative therapies come with any scientific evidence (beyond placebo effect) that they actually work. Since the ADA is an association of scientists, this might clue you into why there’s not much focus on them, just yet.
        “Only educated on chronic disease management or community nutrition.” WRONG. Dietitians are educated on the full spectrum of health, from primary prevention, to secondary prevention, to management of chronic disease. The fact that our system is heavily skewed towards management of chronic disease is the problem of the entire healthcare system, not just RD’s. Are you even aware of what RD’s are reimbursed by insurance companies for preventive services? It’s basically nothing…
        “The average RD thinks they know everything about nutrition” – Complete conjecture, doesn’t even deserve the dignity of a response…
        “…but really are only triained how to treat patietnts in a hospital and manage the diatary department.” Misleading. As if treating patients in a hospital is nothing to shake a stick at… Uhm, hello? Where else are you going to get better medical training than a hospital?! Working with, ya know… sick people?!
        And even so, only about 60% of my internship is spent in a hospital with patients. The other 40% is dedicated to community outreach, working with children, research, counseling, academic study (grad courses), and even optional rotations, which let the intern decide what they want to do!
        The Bottom Line: Don’t implicate every RD on earth because YOUR internship experience was terrible… Mine happens to be exciting, and employ diverse perspectives, thank you very much.

        1. Agreed. Don’t knock all internships. I also dont know ANY dietitian that would say they know even close to everything about nutrition.

      4. To the above comment. First, learn how to spell. Really, did you proof read your comment. Second, as part of our training I agree..we did not get any in holistic, integrative nutrition…however, that does not mean that we dont seek out those resources of information. I go to many programs not sponsored by ADA but get me my CEU’s in Intergrative medicine. I feel like am a much more reliable source of info for the client and/or patient. I also carry malpractice insurance which protects the client/or patient. I know there are alot of issues around ADA…but really take issue with those that present themselves as credible info sources and have gotten their training online, are paid by supplement companies, and no nothing about nutrition therapy, medication interactions, clinical history, etc.

    2. Dear colleagues and everyone who seeks health and truth about how the health is built.
      I appreciate the mind and the good will of the person who created this statement which I support with all my consciousness and responsibility as a nutrition counselor of 30+ years of experience of watching human health and consequences of the falcified artificial food on human health.
      All the actions of each nutrition specialist / dietician have to pursue the wellness of humans and their health and never the interests of the food producers who has the vast money interest in selling to the public just whatever they produce for their profits, no matter how detrimental for health it could be.
      Marta Tereshchenko, MS Human Nutrition

    3. I have been an RD for over 20 years and agree with the conflict of issue concerns regarding the ADAs involvement with certain companies. However, I disagree with many of the comments because they are misinformed. RDs are healthcare professionals and providers and are trained nutrition experts and scientists, and are no different than any other healthcare professional or provider. There are individuals who seek to practice nursing, medicine, physical therapy, pharmacology, etc, without the proper education or training, and nutrition is no different. We do not allow people to practice in these fields unless qualified to do so, and unfortunately, an advanced degree or holistic training does not substitute for proper training.
      Also there seems to be too many misinformed responses. 1. I never learned anything from “Big Food” and am unsure as to that meaning. However, I did learn biochemistry, organic chemistry, general chemistry, nutritional biochemistry, physiology, pathophysiology, medical terminology, and diet therapy.
      2. Patriot RD, I doubt that you are an RD because your comments regarding what an RD is trained to do is incorrect. If you were truly an RD, you would have known that we are nutrition experts and are uniquely qualified to work with clients in all settings. We are nutrition scientists and assist in not only disease management but also prevention by using our knowledge of nutritional science. Holistic nutrition, like any other specialization, is an advanced field that some RDs consider.
      3. Steve, your MS degree in Nutrition does not qualify you as a clinical nutritionist/RD, which is the training you would need to work in an institutional setting. Where you trained in clinical dietetics? Where you trained in reading medical records, interpreting lab data, or applying medical nutrition therapy? You are a nutrition expert, which is why RDs may consult with you; however, you are not a clinical nutrition expert, which is the expertise required to work in an insitutional setting. Also in response to your question, nursing is a profession where an AS can outweigh a MS or PhD. A licensed RN with an AS outweighs an unlicensed person with a PhD in nursing.
      4. The training, education, and experiences RDs receive as preparation to become RDs are independent of the ADA, which is no different than any other profession. I share many of the concerns expressed regarding the ADA, but I disagree with all of the concerns expressed about RDs in general.

  2. It’s about time! As chair of the 50,000 member Texas Health Freedom Coalition, I can tell you that bringing this important information to state legislators, as we in Texas did in 2009, is also crucial to the campaign to bring credibility back to the dietetics profession. The impact of such conflicts of interest was clearly documented in a peer-reviewed JAMA article in 2006. Titled “Health Industry Practices That Create Conflicts of Interest,” it documented that compensation such as that received by the ADA cannot help but create conflicts of interest, including those that hurt patient care. I applaud the founders of for their courage in standing up to Big Food and Big Pharma

  3. In the ’80’s I was a diet counselor for Feingold Association for Hyperactive Children and was pursuing a long-held interest in good nutrition (never been “politically correct”). I took all coursework to become a RD. Eventually I became so disgusted with the ADA that I ended up with a degree in math/computer science and a minor in biochem (mostly nutrition based courses). Over the last ten years, due to a doctor not following up on surgery properly, I became severely malnourished. I could see that it was some form of malnourishment, but doctors, hospitals, etc. insisted there was nothing wrong and I must be “drug-seeking” . Several doctors even told me to go away. I finally had a nurse at my insurance company helping me research because I felt so bad and she found journal articles about it – malnourishment syndrome due to gastric bypass, the same thing I’d been telling doctors for years. I immediately started on very high supplements. This helped some, but not enough. After many tests and finding some doctors who listened when I told them a nurse found it – they didn’t believe me when I told them I found it. Doctors still wouldn’t listen when I told them something was keeping the nutrients from getting to the Kreb’s cycle. Finally, I had a “duh” moment – enzymes. Got some litmus paper, pH way out of balance. No one had even checked that. Started on broad-spectrum enzyme supplements. Within a week I was seeing both subjective and objective positive results. It’s now about four weeks later and I’m up-and-about most of the time – still real weak from 10 years of severe diarrhea, dehydration, and malnourishment. Glad I took the classes. Even more glad I didn’t become a RD.

  4. Dr. Benjamin Rush addressed the Continental Congress, imploring them to include freedom of medicine in our Constitution, just as they did freedom of religion. We are seeing the results of this freedom being excluded.
    Health and peace.

  5. As a community health nurse for 46 years, I have long realized that most advice given by registered dietitians was, at best, ill-conceived, and at worst, downright dangerous. When I was experiencing severe health problems including irritable bowel syndrome and debilitating food allergies, I made a considerable study of holistic nutrition and consulted a PhD level Nutritionist from whom I learned a lot and by whose counsel I was greatly helped. The difference in the quality of his guidance and help as opposed to that of dietitians I had had experience with in my nursing practice, was night and day. I am very happy to hear that there is a contingent of the dietetics profession that is working to elevate this vocation to something worthwhile and genuinely helpful. It has been very evident to me for a long time that the majority of practicing dietitians have been very heavily “under the influence” and functioning in a way that was often detrimental to their patients. Very, very happy to hear of this movement.

  6. It is a sad statement that we have allowed professions to be contaminated by our insatiable desire for profits deeply affecting our Health Care. This same distortion could be said for the AMA as well.
    Big Pharma and all corporations have distorted trust & incentive.
    It is this industrialization of every facet of our culture that will be our demise. We crumble from within as Tolstoy warns, not by invaders, but at our own hands.

  7. I, too, had enrolled in a Dietetic Tech program in the early 90’s. I was so appalled when my teacher came in drinking a diet coke and stated she got her Ph.d in nutrition having written her thesis on Nutrasweet and the benefit of it as a low calorie sweetener. Ironically, I wrote a paper on the dangers of Nutrisweet along with the political connections the company had with Donald Rumsfeld while becoming certified as a Nutritional Educator. I have been grateful all these years that I never succumbed to being brainwashed, intimidated and scared by our corporate powers taking over our wonderful country. Thank goodness people are waking up to the truth and doing something about it.

  8. I can only applaud any effort toward science-based nutritional advice. It is too soon to wager on the eventual effect. One must hope that the current site is the result of one individual’s tantrum rather than permanent policy.
    Please read
    While corporations may lobby for claims that are not factual but are profitable, not every corporate claim is automatically false. Every claim that disagrees with the corporate line is not automatically true.
    Here are several examples: opposes water fluoridation, perhaps to garner the support of tea-party conspiracy theorists.
    Myron Allukian Jr., DDS, MPH, president of the American Association for Community Dental Programs and a past president of APHA has said “People cannot differentiate between CDC and the American Dental Association and some quack outfit that’s trying to scare people,”
    Perhaps cannot differentiate either. claims incorrectly that “British government and European Union have taken actions that are virtually ending the use of dyes throughout Europe.” Several countries outside of the EU have banned artificial food dyes but both the EU and the UK have merely mandated a warning that they “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” is subject to a vitalist bias. It is unscientific to assume that the few children who are affected by artificial food coloring (among many other food components) would not be negatively affected by coloring agents from natural sources. Synthetic chemicals are pure substances while natural extracts always contain residual proteins from their source. subscribes to the tribal concept of shared guilt. If one company within a corporate conglomerate produces an unhealthy product then all products and all claims from all companies within that conglomerate are automatically unhealthy. By analogy, my software services are sold through an arm of Lockheed Martin so I must personally be a war profiteer.

  9. I am so happy to see that there are other people (RDs as well) who feel like me! I am in private practice in NJ and specialize in eating disorders, diabetes, and non-diet weight management. I am intensely interested in how food impacts health and disease and sadly, though I hold a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition, recognize that my education lacked any and all evidence that opposed the interests of big business. I could go on forever but will summarize with: I’m really glad I’m not alone!

  10. My addition to the letter to the ADA from
    Since poor diet and lack of exercise are responsible for about 90% of the health problems in this country, I feel your organization has seriously dropped the ball. It should not be in a position to tell anyone what they can and cannot do in terms of advice on diet.
    As a personal matter, I stopped believing any of your advice many years ago. As a public policy, your advice is costing us billions of dollars a year.

  11. As a current Dietetic Intern who got my Masters in Nutrition before internship (and realized how little we really teach in undergraduate nutrition), I am appalled at how often I know more than my preceptors and yet how the prevailing attitude in some of these RD’s – and definitely the ADA – is “holier than thou” when it comes to anyone other than an RD having an opinion on nutrition – I agree – in what other profession does a 4 year degree trump a Masters or higher? Especially a 4-year degree that doesn’t develop understanding of advanced cell biology, genetics, advanced physiology, advanced biochemistry and many of the other courses not included in didactic undergraduate programs. The attitude alone is going to turn others away from the profession, not towards it – especially as healthcare works towards a transdisciplinary model. The ADA is simply not a team player. If you don’t want the other professions to outshine you – then bring your own profession up to the ethical (see next) and educational standards it should be and “be the change you want to see in the world”. Focus your efforts internally rather than external attacks. If you want people to think of an RD first when they have a nutrition question, than present the profession in a positive light rather than the elitist attitude and drawing lines in the sandbox. Acting threatened just makes the profession look weak. And the corporate takeover of the ADA is disheartening at best. It should be completely illegal for them to accept money from any food or pharmaceutical company. Period. It’s unethical.

  12. As an RN for 46 years, and a naturopath for more than 20, I can see the results of treating the sequelae of poor nutrition and life style with drugs that only correct certain symptoms, but create a cascade of side effects leading to gross imbalances in endocrine, circulatory and lymphatic symptoms. What could possibly be wrong with a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables and good quality protein from clean sources? Hospital food is mass produced, canned, dehydrated, frozen, reconstituted, loaded with preservatives, msg, artificial sweeteners and designed to feed the masses as economically as possible. I don’t need to comment about the hospital dietician who gives a diabetic patient with a blood sugar of 300 a bedtime snack of canned peaches, graham crackers and skim milk.(whole milk is lower in carbohydrates) Only the pharmacy profits from having to give that patient more insulin at the cost of his eyesight and kidney function. Have we all lost our ability to reason? You really don’t need a degree in nutrition to know what is good food and what is not likely to be nutritious. Any food that needs an ingredient label is suspect. Eat the food as close to the farm as possible and avoid packages. Grain is a modern food, only about 10,000 years old for humans, and has produced not only diabetes, but gluten allergy and irritable bowel syndrome. Our problem is that we are unwilling to support the farms that go the distance to produce organic foods and free range meats and eggs. Spend your money on healthy foods. Hippocrates said, so wisely, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”

  13. Hello everyone,
    Why is having a standard of requirements for a credential or a job a bad thing? You know what the problem is? It is that everyone thinks they know best. I fully support whole foods as the ONLY natural foods yet this website calls for the protection of supplements? Last I checked supplements do not grow on trees. Those are NOT natural and you all have been brainwashed to think they are. Want natural fiber? Eat high fiber foods! This is not to say that some people may need supplements in order to overcome illnesses that were more than likely caused by their own horrible lifestyle choices. The lady with the gastric bypass for example. Having a gastric bypass is not natural but it was a choice she made. She can benefit from supplements but the regular american only needs real food. Another point to ponder. There good and bad DOCTORS, NURSES, PHYSICAL THERAPISTS, etc. Why cant RDs be the same? Why are we trying to open up the doors of nutrition to all when only the qualified should be allowed to practice? Consider this, would you take your child to a doctor that was not board certified? Would you take him to the phD in Human physiology instead? Why or why not? Does the license quarantee that the care is the best? Of course not but at least it gives you the security that this person was at least trained in this field and should they mess up, you have the right to file a complaint. Non-licensed practioners do not have this benefit. Please stop attacking the RDs only when it comes to being taught how to treat instead of prevent. What about MDs? I cringe at how my curriculum included 2 WEEKS OF NUTRITION and that is all I am getting. Almost NOTHING on prevention and basically EVERYTHING on treatment. RDs dont make the diet orders, the doctors with less than a month of nutrition education do. If you wanna implement change and protect the public then make sure thr RD has a voice in actually helping you at the hospital. Make sure people that qualified can get the RD in a better way than the long internship. Make sure that MDs get better education and push for holistic courses to be part of ALL RDs education. But by all means, you need a LICENSE to practice because that is the BEST way to protect the public. Lastly, although holistic, organic and grass fed are all great, you need to be realistic. The government will not help fund this. I am at a Hospital in Miami that is trying hard to get organic, locally grown and is getting some success. Do not think that RDs, chefs, etc do not want this, it is just very hard to make this change.

  14. As a student of nutrition, and planning to complete my RD, the more I know about ADA, the more I am aghast at its positions and methodologies. I am further alarmed by its connections with large corporations in the food industry. As a long-time employee of one of the most respected and transparent non-profits in the health industry, I know well the importance of both proper associations with industry, and the proper disclosure of those relationships. As I am concerned about going to the trouble to complete the Masters Degree required for registration, and the possibility of not being able to practice in the industry without an RD certification due to the ADA’s current political machinations, I will likely continue on that course. I am of the opinion, however, that in any profession, a college degree is only the beginning of one’s education. I will likely also complete a CCN certification, which I feel is a much more robust program, based on my knowledge of and research into both paths. While I agree that there should be high standards for those practicing in the field of nutrition, I am concerned that those standards are currently being set by an organization with such questionable ethics and motives as ADA. A CCN also requires a Masters Degree, as well as additional education and rigorous testing, and should not be excluded from practice. We shortchange ourselves as a nation (and one in severe need of all the help we can get, nutritionally) by simply defaulting to mainstream thought rather than setting general, agreed upon standards, and allowing anyone who meets those standards, certified by any organization that can demonstrate that it upholds those standards to practice in the industry. Mainstream thinking is obviously not solving our health problems, and new ideas should not be feared, just well-vetted.

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