RDs Being Told that GMOs Are Safe and Gluten Intolerance Is a Fad

Doner KebabMeanwhile, there are fresh victories (and challenges) in the battle to stop AND from monopolizing nutrition advice. State Action Alert!
Picture yourself at a continuing education conference for professionals. In the morning, you grab a Hershey’s chocolate milk and head to a panel—sponsored by the Wheat Council—on how gluten intolerance is just a “fad.” After a lunch provided by McDonalds, you listen in on a discussion (hosted by the Big Food front group International Food Information Council) about how GMOs are perfectly safe and environmentally friendly.
Was this a continuing ed conference for Big Food propagandists? Nope—Registered Dieticians! This was Mother Jones reporter Kiera Butler’s actual experience at the annual conference of the California Dietetic Association.
Frankly, we’d expect nothing less from the Coca-Cola, Abbott Nutrition, Pepsi, General Mills, and Kellogg’s-funded Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). After all, corporate contributions are the AND’s largest source of income. In fact, the AND’s mission has become so skewed that its own members have formed an organization—Dieticians for Professional Integrity—to protest its hijacking by corporate interests.
Why are the AND’s doings of concern to the natural health community? Because, as we’ve previously reported, the AND uses its financial clout to bar other highly qualified professionals from the field of nutritional therapy, to the lasting detriment of consumer choice.
Turning the tide of AND’s crony capitalist practices is an ongoing effort. Here’s an update on our latest victories and challenges:

Federal Victory: Nutritionists Win Equal Recognition

In February 2013, we warned you about a sneaky insertion by AND lobbyists into draft rules for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Essentially, the added provision would have revised the requirement that hospital diets be prescribed only by the practitioners responsible for the care of the patient—a revision we, in principle, agreed with, since few physicians know anything about nutrition.
The problem was this provision would be expanded to include only Registered Dietitians (RDs)—not Certified Nutrition Specialists, many of whom have higher degrees than dietitians, e.g., Master’s degrees and PhDs, or other highly qualified nutrition professionals.
Thanks to your messages and our official comments to CMS, the final rule has been changed to recognize equally qualified nutrition professionals alongside RDs. This is a real game-changer for non-RD nutrition professionals that we couldn’t have achieved without your support—thank you!

State Concerns: Monopolistic Legislation

For years, the AND’s main state lobbying strategy has been to introduce “scope-of-practice” licensure laws that prevent qualified non-RD nutrition professionals from practicing. These laws are then enforced by state health departments and state dietetics boards dominated by pro-AND dieticians.
For example, Maryland SB 379 sought to expand the state dietetic board’s power by granting it permission to send nutrition professionals cease-and-desist letters (a right usually reserved just for the state Attorney General) and by increasing penalties for non-compliant professionals. Unfortunately, this bill passed in early April, but we won’t give up in Maryland, despite AND’s clout with the legislators there.
Here are the bills we’re currently concerned about:

  • California SB 993 would allow RDs to provide independent medical nutrition therapy without the supervision of a physician or surgeon, and to receive insurance reimbursement for doing so. ANH-USA is currently working to amend the bill to allow other nutrition professionals, and specifically Certified Nutrition Specialists, to be granted the same right.
  • New Jersey SB 855 and S1661/A2826 would allow only licensed RDs—and no other qualified nutrition professionals—to engage in medical nutritional therapy. Although the New Jersey bills are currently in legislative limbo, we’re monitoring them carefully and will keep you updated.
  • New York AB 1388 and SB 4999, which would have a similar impact as the New Jersey bills, are of the greatest concern. Last week, SB 4999 passed out of the Higher Education Committee and was sent on for consideration by the Senate Finance Committee. It’s vital that we stop this bill before it moves another inch. If you are a resident of New York state, please take action immediately!


Over the past few years, ANH-USA and our allies have been very successful in defeating monopolistic RD licensure bills. For example, we have won in Illinois, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, and West Virginia. As a result, the number of licensure bills introduced on the state level has dropped dramatically. However, we must remain ever vigilant—or else you’ll lose access to nutrition professionals who won’t prescribe McDonalds for lunch.


  1. this is a lie. we do not tell our patients r clients that GMO’s are safe. We know that gluten intolerance is not a fad, but using a gluten free diet as a means to lose weight when no intolerance exists is a fad.
    please get your facts straight before you bash those who have worked hard to become legit health professionals.

    1. The glycemic index of wheat is very high. If people experience weight loss by eliminating wheat and other gluten containing grains, but not replacing them with junk gluten-free foods, I see no problem with a wheat-free/grain-free lifestyle. Read Wheat Belly.

  2. I recently read an article that did not claim gluten sensitivity was a fad but that the number of truly gluten sensitive people is far lower than stated. One needs to be tested by a specialist in that area to be absolutely sure before starting a gluten free diet.

    1. My opinion is in agreement with much of what I have read and with those I’ve listened to which indicates that virtually NO ONE can tolerate digestion of wheat/gluten because of the way it has been hybridized since right after WWII. There is much more gluten than there used to be – to make fluffier bread for baking – and our bodies don’t know what to do with all that gluten. I am gluten-intolerant, blood-tested as well as saliva tested, and had leaky gut to prove it. My mother is also gluten-intolerant. This is not inherited – I had a genetic test that proves that, so I know many are intolerant and don’t even know it. It is not a fad but a health necessity, in my opinion.

    2. Sorry, Berenice, but one does not need a test by a specialist — costs money! — to determine whether one is gluten-sensitive. Cut out gluten for two weeks; eat a gluten-free breakfast, a gluten-free lunch, then have a piece of toast mid-afternoon. Watch what happens. If you fall asleep, you are gluten sensitive. The way I conducted this test with my husband was a gluten-free breakfast followed by a lunch with gluten: he immediately fell asleep. He feels much better eating little or no gluten — he seems okay if he has a little after a good period of time without — and no longer continues eating after eating a full meal (another symptom of gluten sensitivity). Specialists never like tests people can conduct for themselves. And no one NEEDS gluten in order to survive.
      To Annetta below, I seem to tolerate gluten quite well, but I had a very good diet as a youngster (until my mother became diet-obsessed).

      1. I highly disagree about the testing. Gluten is not the only component in wheat that causes problems and standardized tests often turn out negative, but when a patient eliminates wheat their symptoms improve or totally disappear. Doing an elimination diet and experiencing positive results is enough evidence in my book that the individual should eliminate gluten (or other foods that are causing problems.)

  3. It’s a sad day when a profession is hijacked by big business and corporations restrict science and basic information to fit in line with their products, rather than for the benefit of providing health and nutrition.
    What’s worse is when the members of this organization go along with the rhetoric, eat the unhealthy foods provided, don’t take care of their own health and continue to go along with the status quo, rather than observe the results of the poor nutritional practices. I feel the tide is changing and soon, these people must realize that money does not buy happiness, health or security. Blessings, Debby

  4. Many of us don’t know what RDs are. It took me a while to figure out that these were Registered Dietitians. Please write out the names of groups and organizations involved in any issues.

  5. Sounds like lobbyists in Washington or the McClendon campaign finance bill where the richer try to cram their junk down our throats causing us to die younger. Why would we want to eat something healthy. Are we crazy?

  6. What is the status of this licensure issue in Pennsylvania? I am seriously considering going back to school to obtain a graduate degree in nutrition with the ultimate goal of becoming a Certified Nutrition Specialist. However, I’d rather not waste at least 2 years in that pursuit only to not legally be able to practice in that capacity. Perhaps it would make some kind of sense to become an RD first and then pursue the more beneficial certification after that. I would really hate to have to go that route, however.

    1. Licensure of one group does not eliminate other groups to practice. Why don’t you license your own group?

  7. You have the most inconvenient action alerts on the web.
    1. There’s no action alert ICON to get one’s attention on the e-mail page
    2. If you just happen to notice there’s an alert and click on the subject a new tab opens.
    3. But where’ are the alert data boxes and the submit button? At the bottom of the page? NOPE!! You have to go all the way down to the bottom of the page and there’s an over-sized Alert icon.
    4. When you click on it what happens? Ah, we need another tab!!
    5. I always check “Remember me”, but you always forget me…
    6. Does my auto fill plug in enter all the necessary data…mostly, but you’ve forgotten my name!
    7. …and finally, I can click on submit.
    8. But wait, there’s another alert if/when I return to that now long forgotten e-mail that started the whole process.
    9. Go back to step one…and when I get to step 5, you’ve already forgotten me!!
    …and then there’s the 3rd action alert…ARE YOU STILL WITH ME?
    please take out all the unnecessary steps so i can get on with my life!

  8. I am a registered nutritional consultant practitioner (RNCP). How can we communicate to the public – in a professional manner – the fact that the American Dietetic Association (or its new alias, “Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics”) resorts to underhanded means to try to discredit certifiied nutritionists and monopolize the nutrtional counseling field? This is reminiscent of what the American Medical Association attempted to do (unsuccessfully) to the American Chiropractic Association for decades. Eventually, the ACA’s only solution was a class-action lawsuit. The public is so misled (actually brain-washed) regarding what the majority of RD’s represent.

    1. If you read SB 993 closely, you will see that this is not giving RDs permission to write orders and the category of “other nutrition professionals” is included every time MNT is mentioned. Enough of your lies.

  9. SOMEBODY, somewhere is not paying attention.
    Tell this nonsense to those who are gluten intolerant.
    Haven’t people suffered enough because of these poisons in our foods and medications?

  10. You are as ignorant and close-minded about science and “facts” as are the “creationists.” You and Mother Jones have totally misrepresented the truth of the CDA meeting and the sessions. Is this the kind of “nutritionists” you are training — ones who don’t evaluate the science and just jump to conclusions that things are bad when they are not.

  11. You completely misrepresent the majority of Registered Dietitians. I understand it is in your best interest to do so, but you couldn’t be more off-base! RDs are highly educated (over half of all RDs hold advanced degrees of either a Masters or Doctorate degree) nutrition advocates who continue to study to provide the very best nutritional recommendations and therapies for their patients and clients. We have a lot of common interests on so many topics, so let’s work together instead! Lori L, MS, RD

  12. Here is my experience of RDs: the only people who know less about food and nutrition than doctors! When my surgeon had me follow a specific diet after lifesaving surgery, the dietitian could not understand the diet: no popcorn, no raw carrots or apple skins, no nuts or seeds. When I asked her if wheat germ was okay, she had never seen it. (And I’m guessing is paid to troll the internet looking for articles about the AND.) The chocolate milk and McDonald’s lunch seem quite likely; why would the reporter make up such a thing?

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