How Big Food silences dissent and censors debate about real nutrition
Just how far is Big Food willing to go to silence dissenters and control the marketplace of ideas?
It was recently reported that investigative journalist Nina Teicholz was uninvited from a panel discussion to be held at the Consumer Federation of America’s National Food Policy Conference.
Teicholz wrote the acclaimed 2014 book, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. This book explained the many benefits of saturated fats – an idea that happens to go against the mainstream low-fat party line.
The following year, an article published by Teicholz in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) called into question the science behind the government’s healthy dietary guidelines, which she says are outdated. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) publishes these guidelines every five years, and they play a big role in defining everything from food labeling to public feeding programs and nutrition education.
Teicholz was not the only person to publicly express this belief, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) was angry enough about her declaration to ask BMJ via letter to retract the article. This letter was signed by around 180 so-called experts, many of whom had been criticized by Teicholz in the past.
Fast-forward to the present. Two of the panelists scheduled for the conference – the former chairwoman of the DGAC and the CSPI’s nutrition policy director – said that they would not participate if she were to remain on the panel, and their influence is apparently so great that they successfully managed to get the organizers to rescind her invitation.
Freedom of speech … as long as you say what they want you to
This is just another way in which Big Food perpetuates the myths that best serve its interests, and the low-fat myth is certainly one of them. Foods carry nutritional labels that emphasize calorie and fat counts, thereby taking the spotlight off the many preservatives and artificial sweeteners that also appear on the label. The harmful ingredients in food, many of which are examined in the book Food Forensics by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, tend to be glossed over in favor of fixating on fat as the true evil.
They are completely ignoring the fact that some fats are very healthy for the body as well as the mind, such as the healthy fats found in avocados, raw whole milk, nuts, salmon and coconut oil.
When the DGAC came out once again in support of low-fat diets in 2015, many scientists were quick to point out the errors of their ways. The director of the Healthy Nation Coalition, Adele Hite, MPH, RD, said at the time: “They want to enforce a diet that will result in poor health for many Americans. The DGAC expects us to eliminate foods that are traditionally found in nourishing dietary patterns. Instead, the federal government should focus on recommendations that help all Americans acquire adequate essential nutrition.”
That’s not the only way Big Food manages to silence those who dare to tell the truth about science and nutrition. For example, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), which is heavily funded by Big Food, has pushed states to pass laws that create monopolies for Registered Dieticians, while preventing other qualified parties from dispensing nutritional advice.
As for the CSPI and DGAC, if they are so certain that the science behind their claims is sound, why aren’t they willing to open it all up to a healthy debate at the conference, and allow those in attendance to make up their minds for themselves?