June 30, 2015

American Society of Nutrition, Not a Good Society

I would like to thank Steve Cooksey for pointing this out, but I cannot totally agree with him. Yes, the American Society of Nutrition (ASN) has some serious conflicts of interest, but they are not trying to criminalize other nutritionists like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In my searching, I also discovered another writer that is not happy with the conflicts of interest. And this person is a member of the ASN.

The person is Marion Nestle and she has her own blog, Food Politics. She covers a wide range of political issues in writing about nutrition and I have bookmarked her blog to go back and read several years of blogs. Her articles were from November 20 and November 21, 2013. In the two blogs, she covers her concerns about the ASN and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN)

Now Marion Nestle is more objective in her criticism and less radical than Steve Cooksey which is to be expected, but she is more careful in laying out her concerns. I do think that the entire list of sustaining partners needs to be shown even if it makes for a long blog. I have included the hype from ASN.

ASN Sustaining Partners
The American Society for Nutrition is pleased to acknowledge the generous support from these organizations for educational programs of the Society.

The Sustaining Partners are represented in the Society by the Sustaining Partner Roundtable. The members of this roundtable help to provide visibility within ASN to matters of interest to industry by exchanging ideas and providing corporate financial support for the society's activities in education/training, scientific programs, and professional outreach.

The one statement by Steve Cooksey that I can agree with is this - “If you turn over a rock in the nutrition industry, you’ll find the money of Big Food and smell the stench of greed that follows it.

This will mean that I will need to investigate more of the organizations involved with nutrition over the next months.


David Mendosa said...

That's a long list of potential (probable) conflicts of interest, Bob. I wonder how it compares with those of the American Diabetes Association. Do you know?

Bob Fenton said...

I believe this list is longer, but until I get my computer back from repairs, I will not be able to get the answer. I will attempt to set up a comparison at that time for several of the professional organizations.

Bob Fenton said...

Believe it or not each has 31 corporate sponsor. The link for corporate sponsors on the ADA website is - http://www.diabetes.org/about-us/corporate-support/our-corporate-supporters.html

Scott S said...

I actually like Marion Nestle a LOT. I think she's a great advocate for rational food policy in the U.S., although at times it seems as if she's vastly outnumbered! In the end, conflicts-of-interest are prevalent throughout medicine (one reason doctors HATE the Affordable Care Act is it contains an important provision called the Sunshine Act which means their taking "thought leadership" fees, presentation fees, etc. can no longer be done on the down-low. Its not perfect yet and there are many legitimate complaints about the database being difficult to use and not containing all the info. needed to make rational conclusions all of which are fair but hiding that you stand to earn money from something isn't fair, either! I think this finding is validation for the things many people already suspected. The question in my mind is always how various professional organizations manage conflicts of interest policies, and I don't think we've seen anything on that yet.

Bob Fenton said...

Scott, I agree with you that there is too much hidden in professional organizations and I don't like it. We need to read almost everything in nutrition with a jaundiced eye and while this detracts from the value of what we read, today this is a necessity.