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Playing Monopoly With Our Health

CCW_FebMar2009.qxp:Layout 1The American Dietetic Association (ADA) wants to create a monopoly on state nutritional licensure. This organization—which lists among its corporate sponsors soft drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, cereal manufacturers General Mills and Kellogg’s, candy maker Mars, and Unilever, the multinational corporation that owns many of the world’s consumer products brands in foods and beverages—already has a stranglehold on who can dispense nutritional counseling at the state level.


The latest battle is in Michigan. So far, the Michigan Board of Dietetic and Nutrition has voted to accept the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) as the sole certifying agency. The CDR is the ADA’s credentialing arm. We recently sent Michigan officals a letter asking them to recognize more than one certifying organization. We are requesting, at a minimum, the acceptance of reputable nutrition-based credentialing agencies such as the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS) or the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.
As our position paper notes, there is a major philosophical difference between nutritionists and dietitians—they are two entirely different fields of study and practice. In general:

  • Nutritionists are health practitioners with comprehensive knowledge of the impact nutrition has on the whole body. They focus on nutrition therapy for better health, metabolism, and biochemistry, and practice an integrative approach to health, concentrating on the prevention and treatment of chronic disease.
  • Dietitians’ training focuses on institutional diets and food service management—developing diets for hospital patients, school food service programs, and nursing homes, although they can also provide individualized counseling on diet and disease. Hospital food by law is controlled by dieticians, and almost everyone recognizes that the poor food in hospitals is a medical disgrace.
  • As noted, that there can be an overlap in the type of work each profession practices. There are many different dietary and nutritional therapies to choose from, which is why freedom of consumer choice is absolutely essential in this field.

By accepting only a single credentialing agency—one run by the dieticians, not nutritionists—the Michigan board is establishing a “one-size-fits-all” dietician standard for both nutritionists and dietitians. This removes all competition, essentially handing the ADA a monopoly over nutritional therapy. Licensing in this field should not be an excuse for an ADA monopoly.
Michigan may not even realize that it is also barring the best-educated, most highly qualified professionals from providing nutritional therapy to Michigan residents. Other credentialing agencies’ standards are higher than those of the ADA. The CBNS, for example, requires an advanced degree in nutrition, 100 more hours of supervised experience than the ADA requires, and a certifying examination (even if the nutritionist has a doctoral degree).
It is outrageous that consumers should be denied access to expert advice on nutrition from the most highly educated and well-respected professionals in the field. In order to adequately protect the profession of nutritional therapy, certifying organizations that specialize in nutrition (and not simply dietetics) must be recognized. And we believe the citizens of Michigan—indeed, the citizens of every state—have the right to choose their form of nutritional therapy from as large a pool of professionals as possible. Our website has a chart showing your state’s licensing status.
ANH–USA advocates for access and choice—to ensure that consumers have unencumbered access to healthcare treatments, and that practitioners have the autonomy to practice in a manner that is truly in the best interest of their patients. Because of this, last week we sent a special alert to our members in Michigan asking them to contact the Michigan Board of Dietetic and Nutrition to express their concern before the board meeting (scheduled for today, Tuesday).
We have been working on this issue for two years, and since our involvement, we have involved our members in active states, and we have prevented any monopolies. We’ve stopped bills from going through in Wisconsin and New Jersey. Michigan and Delaware had already passed legislation and are in the rules phase, but we were able to stall the rules process in Michigan and have gotten the CBNS included as a credentialing organization in Delaware, preventing a complete monopoly.
Grassroots activism is our strength. We will keep you involved at the state level whenever and wherever you can make a difference.

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33 thoughts on “Playing Monopoly With Our Health

  • Anne Peterson

    Absolutely outrageous!! The land of the free is quickly moving away from us and will bring sadness and sickness to our grandchildren, even our children! These people do NOT know what they are doing. It’s obvious it’s not about health, it’s about control and politics. Glad I’m not there where I was born, but I suppose it’s coming to my land as well, if the gov has its way.

  • Millie

    Hey folks. I think you have an outdated defintion of a dietitian. And we dietitians are nutritionists (nutrition counseling etc not just those awful hospital diets). That was what we did 30 years ago. With that said, I understand your concern. I am a faithful supporter of your cause. HOWEVER, many dietitians are clueless about the big picture, however, many are not. I would agree with you that both organizations should be allowed licensure. Unfortunately, many RD’s allow themselves to be manipulated by those companies promoting HFCS, artificial sweeteners etc etc
    But we are not all bad!!!

    • Carolyn

      Millie: I am a former RD and I can see both sides of this one, especially as a consumer instead of as a provider. RD’s(including myself, formerly) don’t have all of the answers. The “other side” has a lot of good information that the dietetics profession refuses to accept. Thank you for not being manipulated by the companies who promote the unhealthy additives! But the Association as a whole, DOES accept money from them, and that looks bad! Seems like they should exercise some integrity here, if they are TRULY interested in the nutrition of human beings. While I was an RD/ADA member, I felt that we should earn our keep without having any legislation/PAC involvement. If RD’s are good enough at what they do, and don’t try to bad-mouth other people who have nutrition knowledge, people will be more likely to seek them out. I think part of this is a “turf protection” issue! I think there is a place for both RD’s and “the other side” to peacefully co-exist.

  • Candace Stolley

    Monopoly or control of the food and health of the world and America foremost, is the front line of a new war fought in dark rooms for money and dominance or CORPORATE CONTROL in link with law over life in America and the world. This is what the ADA is up to. The ADA is NOT about service to the needs of Americans and the world. This is VERY CLEAR. Look for yourself.
    A quote by Musilini: “Fascism could better be called Corporatism since it is the merging of corporate and state powers.”
    So exactly what do we have here with the ADA?

  • anonymous

    Last year I had to undergo surgery and was in the hospital for one day and a night.
    Imagine giving this breakfast to someone in my condition:
    – Bacon
    – Toaster pancake
    – Jam containing high-fructose corn syrup
    – Coffee
    I brought my own food to the hospital and refused to eat what passes for
    food at this hospital. But I did have the coffee – it was delicious.
    Dietitians are NOT nutritionists and know absolutely NOTHING about nutrition. Dietitians
    are the people who plan the menus for hospitals, schools, and prisons. I think this speaks
    volumes for their supposed expertise in the realm of nutrition.
    Years ago dietitians tried the same thing. They attempted to pass laws in the every state of
    the US making it illegal for anyone but them to practice nutrition. Thankfully, they didn’t succeed
    that time and, with any luck, they won’t succeed this time.

    • Suzanne

      I agree with you on everything you wrote but I’m a member of Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF.org) and a nutrition coach The only thing the WAPF would have said was OK on that breakfast try was the bacon, as long as it was from grass-fed pigs and without nitrites and nitrates (which I’m sure was not the case).
      Dietitians are definitely not nutritionists and neither is the Federal Government. Each person is definitely an individual and needs to be treated as one with education, eating, health care, abortions, etc. With the Federal Gov’t trying to run everything, we need to continually revolt and get them to change their decisions and allow us to keep our freedoms.


    These giant companies are allowed to bamboozle their way to get what they want. Most likely they will get what they will achieve their aims. What shame and sadness. Here’s a point and i hope i’m not the only one to have notice this; The serving of sodas from a bottle is 8oz, while the serving from i can is 12oz. Is something wrong with this picture u be the judge? I do not support any of these companies damn them.

  • Walt Goodpastor, MSW, MBA, ND

    Dietitians are and always have been stooges and tools for the processed foods industry. They evolved out of schools of home economics where they have a long history of having their departments & their research funded by the corporate scum that manufactures the so-called processed “foods” composed primarily of starch & sugar that keep American citizens fat & sick. Typically, they are employed by that industry or they go to work in institutions such as hospitals, jails & schools where their function is to put on a white coat & give their official blessing to the cheap, anti-nutrient slop that is served there. Their function in institutions is simply to hold food costs to a minimum. In a just world the idiotic nutritional advice they give to hospitalized cardiac & diabetic patients should lead to arrest & criminal prosecution, but because they have chosen the political path of state registgration they are insulated from accountability for their incompetent behavior. In my 30+ years of hospital experience, I found most of the ones I met to be pleasant dimwits. But there are many who know that what they are advising people is clearly wrong, e.g, the low-fat, high carbohydrate diet for heart health. That means many of them are simply sociopaths. Eventually, we wil see class action lawsuits against them by the millions of people they have sickened by their bogus advice. I look forward to that day.

  • Tracy

    I recently learned alot of alarming info about Coke and have refused to used their products (it’s hard because I was addicted to Vanilla Coke) But I’m stickin’ to my guns…I also boycott Kelloggs, Hormel, Tyson and refuse to buy anything GMO. I go to the store and it takes ALOT longer shopping and reading the labels but I refuse to support those companies. I see all these uneducated consumers in the store and I just want to tell them not to put that stuff in their shopping carts!!!

  • Robert Cruder

    Nutrition is a science. Nutritionists, especially epidemiological nutritionists like Walter Willett change their recommendations based on experience. The ADA does not do so and dietetics as practiced by the ADA is not a science.
    In the early 1980s, several vegetarian senate staffers with no scientific credentials and with no supporting evidence concluded that low-fat diets were healthier for both consumers and for the environment. The USDA negotiated with food producers to ensure that no one lost market and packaged the result as the food pyramid. They guaranteed profitability, not health.
    The dieticians of the ADA promulgated the USDA recommendations uncritically to the extent that they punished their own skeptics by revoking certification. That sounds more like a guild or a religion than a scientific body.
    Americans have grown fatter and less healthy on the average since those 1980s. One must conclude either that they aren’t obeying the dieticians or that the dieticians were wrong. The variety of low-fat foods available and the volume of low-fat foods consumed disprove the former and support the latter.
    A 2002 Cochrane Review showed that low-fat diets were no more effective and deprecated them within British medical practice which is evidence-based. That had no effect on the ADA which is not evidence based and for that reason is not a science.
    The ADA recommends diets with increasing proportions of corn derivatives (such as HFCS) which are very profitable to their food industry patrons and which are condemned by nutritionists and science-based consumer groups such as CSPI.
    I propose that the ADA and its members are merely agents of industry to sell consumers whatever is most profitable, claiming that it is most healthful and being paid for expertise that they do not have or do not practice.
    Until the ADA breaks that pattern, those certified by the ADA should be specifically EXCLUDED from advising on diet.

    • RD

      “The ADA recommends diets with increasing proportions of corn derivatives (such as HFCS) ”
      Show me where the ADA recommends diets with HFCS please. Actual evidence is crucial to an argument.

  • Thanks for the “chart showing my state’s status” but I really didn’t want you to download the useless file to my hard drive in a format I can’t see.
    All I wanted to do was access the information that this article should be giving me!
    Thanks for SOME of the information.

    • Johann,
      The linked file is a .doc file which can be opened in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or Open Office word processors. Hope this helps!

  • Sandy

    ANH wrote “It is outrageous that consumers should be denied access to expert advice on nutrition…”
    You can stop right there. This path of limiting free speech regarding nutrition will end up criminalizing mothers who tell their children to eat their greens so they can grow big and strong. I’m not exaggerating; just give it time. Back when the AMA secured its monopoly on health care, it first strangled homeopathy and chiropractic. Then it targeted other “alternative” approaches which didn’t conform to the AMA approach (poison, burn, slice and hope). A century later, a private individual like myself becomes a criminal if we dare tell someone what’s wrong with them. Telling someone that their rash is from poison ivy and they should do … to treat it: this is practicing medicine without a license, prohibited by the AMA’s monopoly.
    Same for the ABA’s monopoly on practicing law. A private individual cannot tell someone they should get a durable health care power of attorney (even though it’s good advice) because that is offering legal advice without a license. People cannot adequately represent themselves in a court of law because court procedures have been designed by lawyers, for lawyers.
    Enough of ALL these government-established monopolies which encroach on everyday free speech situations! Claw back our rights and liberties, Americans, before the populace gets so frustrated that civil war breaks out. Grandmothers behind bars for advising their grandchildren about healthy eating will be the result of this awful trend, unless we STOP it now. GO, ANH!

  • Amy Parent

    I agree that if Dietitians knew good nutrition, then we wouldn’t be accepting “F” grade meat that even KFC wouldn’t accept at a discount from the FDA to our schools for their lunch programs. I am pursuing a degree in Nutritional Sciences, and want to focus on the health side of things. Institutional food service needs to change, but too many people make a lot of money for providing “discount” meals with little to no nutritional value. It’s really sad, and hope to contribute to change in these fields.
    (Also, shouldnt the official ADA website learn to spell “DIETITIAN”. There is no “C”!!!)

  • Brian

    If there is not more then one view point then you have a monopoly and a Monopoly
    will force it’s opinion on all . Only a Grass Roots Movement supporting Natural Health
    as a recognized second opinion will prevent a total take over ! .. It’s a Sad day in
    America — that you have to fight for choice & voice on so many fronts . This Country is
    rapidly becoming the home of the Once Free . If you have Politicians who won’t back
    up what the People want , who they are supposed to represent , then Vote them Out ! . B

  • what, indeed, can we do about the erosion of our freedoms? Write our Congresspersons? All that gets you is a form letter. Vote Democratic? No change from them either. Vote Green? Nice idea, but it hasn’t caught on big enough to make a difference. We are indeed in a bad fix.
    The only thing I know I can still do is to BOYCOTT all those nasty non-foods. I stick to fresh produce that I cook at home (with just a little butter), and I NEVER DRINK SODA POP. I have a Multi-Pure Water Filter that has served me well for 14 years. Unfortunately I cannot afford to eat only organic foods, so I know I am getting some pesticide poisoning. But my overall healthy lifestyle, I hope, will mitigate that.
    And I avoid prescription drugs. JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS–ALL DRUGS!!!

    • Davre

      Where is the call to action ?? i.e. email your political representaive
      Good data about what is going on yet that goes nowhere (as is going on here) is non-existance data… in the eyes of the politicans.
      This is preaching to the choir. We need to let the politians know about this.
      We need a call to ACTION!!

  • Monica

    We need more people up in arms about this and other issues on losing our freedoms. This is truly becoming a police state but we can do something about it.

  • Chris Beckett

    I agree with the article and the number of posts denouncing this monopoly by the ADA.
    The ADA were also instrumental in attempting to have the successful Natural Hygiene advice on diet and weightloss outlawed, despite its overwhelming success from the evidence from those millions who tried it and lived by it.
    The ADA is about corporatism and control and has nothing to do with health and healthcare whatsoever.

  • mohayrix

    I had been working towards a degree that would have possibly enabled me to be able to work from within the AMA laden industry and work have majored in probably Physical Therapy and Rolphing, and possibly natruropath ND. I saw how quickly my business partners and myself struggled when the State or government controlled Workers Comp. payments dried up in our overgrowth of natural healing and took away our choices. I am now dying and would like to hook up with someone to help advise me on fatal condition. My professional carreer would never allow for claiming the healing I have seen. If anyone could help me I would be appriciative.

  • Jeff

    I tried clicking on the link for “our position paper”. All I got was this message: “Page Not Found”.
    Could you fix this?

  • harv

    You’ve GOT to be kidding me !! Talk about the fox guarding the hen house ! The products that these companies produce are the cause of more sickness and disease than most people realize, and THEY are the ones who are going to lead us in dietary rules?? That is nothing short of a bad joke !

  • Dean Bayer

    What do you expect, the mission of the government health related agencies is to reduce the population by what ever means works and they can get away with. So approval of drugs by the FDA that might relieve some symptom, but cause another problem is standard procedure. Food recommendations are designed to make you unhealthy so you die sooner. And then there is th outright killing of babies and old people.

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  • Marina

    Dietetics is also an arm of the medical/Big Pharma industry – not just the “food” industry. I was trained in a college dietetics program and left it close to the end because I did not want to be a part of the lie.
    When I was in college, reading the ADA Journal was a joke- horrible “science” such as experiments with 3 rats to “prove ” white bread is better than whole grain (This was the 80’s).
    Regardless of their training and role in society at this time, dieticians SHOULD NOT be the only people permitted to give dietary advisory. Frankly, everyone giving dietary advice will just go around this law by changing their titles and continuing to give dietary advisory anyway. The numerous excellent books on diet and nutrition were written largely by non-dieticians. Current books (since 1999) out on fats, saturated fats, meat and dairy in the diet are in opposition to the corporate – controlled party line the dieticians and others tow. EVERYONE with any insight into the training and work of dieticians , and where their “information and science” comes from is in the know about the fraud this perpetuates in our society.

    • FC Okonkwo

      I suppose in all fields and as regards books- subject to more refinements- present or future professionals can only certify?

  • Kim

    Please don’t demonize dietitians along with your hatred of the ADA. Granted, dietitians are often part of the dietary departments of hospitals, but don’t forget that dietitians must complete a four year degree, will soon be required to have an advance nutrition degree, go through 1000 hours of supervised practice and ace a credentialling exam. You make it sound as if we take home ec and then make tater tots for the rest of our career. This is not the case — dietitians are trained and expected to give medical nutrition therapy using evidence based science. The ADA may be pushing you and your credentialling agencies around, and for this I am truly sorry. However, DO NOT assume that dietitians are not capable of giving sound nutrition advice to help the whole person. We just don’t dole out anecdotal trendy new-age advice. And you should be just as aware that there are people out there with a 6-week home study course under their belt pretending to be nutritionists. This is what we should BOTH be concerned about. PLEASE get your facts straight about dietitians and stop bad-mouthing the incredibly important work we do battling chronic disease.

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