Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
February 3, 2023
In last week’s blog, we looked at false narratives. Three of the main pillars of health and nutrition that we’ve been taught simply aren’t true. But how did that come about? This week, we’re looking at the basic goals of nutrition and how conflicts of interest have complicated things, putting our health in jeopardy.
Goals of Nutrition
Basically, there are 2 general goals of nutrition …
- To provide energy for our cells
- To assure structural components to build and maintain our cells
These two goals are purposeful and specific. Nutrition gives us the fuel to run our human engines just like batteries give power to flashlights. And nutrition provides the structural components that allows each of our cells do what they are intended to do.
Humans are animals. We are not plants or trees or shrubs. Our cells require what all animal cells in the wild require – basic and bioavailable elements to sustain life.
Over 600,000 years of homo sapiens evolving on planet earth, we have preferred and required animal protein, animal fat, bone marrow, cartilage, and animal organs to become the dominant animal of our planet. While humans are omnivorous, our species has preferred animal products eaten from nose-to-tail.
The bioavailable nutrients that we require are in the cells of the animals we eat. As I discussed in Today’s Human Nutrition Part 1 – False Narratives, the animals with the densest nutrient concentrations that are also absorbable and useful for your body come from ruminant animals.
One question may come to mind:
“How does our body tell us it needs more nutrients?”
And the answer is:
When we are hungry, our appetite tells our body to eat to obtain another round of essential nutrients.
In addition, our body provides the complex mechanisms and pathways to use these nutrients to facilitate our overall wellness.
When our body needs to clean itself out, various organs produce biologically active chemicals to “detoxify naturally”. Antioxidants, which our body produces internally, are set in motion to neutralize damaging free radicals, which could cause various chronic diseases. A low-carbohydrate way of eating can stimulate our endogenous production of these natural antioxidants.
Conflicts of Interest
Money and power are the great spoilers. They shouldn’t have any influence in our decisions for a healthy way of eating These spoilers create conflicts of interest. Some companies that provide us with our food use their money and power to influence organizations which are deemed responsible for making our dietary guidelines. It’s no wonder why there are false narratives surrounding nutrition and our food products. You can read about 3 False Narratives I discussed in my Blog last week.
In a March 2022 paper titled Conflicts of interest for members of the U.S. 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the authors stated their results and conclusions …
Results: Our analysis found that 95% of the committee members had COI (Conflicts of Interest) with the food, and/or pharmaceutical industries and that particular actors, including Kellogg, Abbott, Kraft, Mead Johnson, General Mills, Dannon, and the International Life Sciences had connections with multiple members. Research funding and membership of an advisory/executive board jointly accounted for more than 60% of the total number of COI documented.
Conclusions: Trustworthy dietary guidelines result from a transparent, objective, and science-based, process. Our analysis has shown that the significant and widespread COI on the committee prevent the DGA (Dietary Guidelines for Americans) from achieving the recommended standard for transparency without mechanisms in place to make this information publicly available.
In another revealing peer-reviewed paper which was published in October 2022, nutrition policy appears to be compromised by money and power. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), which provides over 100,000 dietitians with data to help people make the right decisions concerning healthy eating, is in the crosshairs. The authors of The corporate capture of the nutrition profession in the USA: the case of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explained their results and conclusions …
Results: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the AND Foundation (ANDF), and its key leaders have ongoing interactions with corporations. These include AND’s leaders holding key positions in multinational food, pharmaceutical or agribusiness corporations, and AND accepting corporate financial contributions. We found the AND has invested funds in corporations such as Nestlé, PepsiCo, and pharmaceutical companies, and has discussed internal policies to fit industry needs and has had public positions favoring corporations.
Conclusion: AND and its Foundation assist the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and agribusiness industries through their large network of professionals and students, their lax internal policies on corporate partnerships, and their topical position papers. The AND/ANDF have been supported financially by these corporations throughout the years despite public criticism and internal organizational changes. With a registration as a trade association, the AND and corporations interact symbiotically. This sets a precedent for close corporate relationships with the food and nutrition profession in the USA, which may negatively affect the public health agenda in the USA and internationally.
Here is still another example of real nutritional facts being stifled as big pharma gets into the picture …
For the most part, obesity is a result of poor food choices and unhealthy lifestyle choices over time. Obesity may be influenced by genetics, but it is not a genetic disease. Interestingly, on the 60 Minutes TV Show which aired on January 1, 2023, Lesley Stahl interviewed Dr. Fatima Stanford (an obesity doctor at Mass General Hospital) and Dr. Dr. Caroline Apovian (a weight management specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston). Dr. Stanford tells Leslie Stahl that, “Obesity is a brain disease.” Both doctors advise companies developing drugs for obesity, including Novo Nordisk, (maker of Wegovy and Ozempic). Both drugs are designed to treat obesity. And both doctors recommend these drugs. Could there be a conflict of interest here? Real nutritional facts do not suggest that a drug is the first choice for treatment of obesity. The real facts indicate that curtailing specific poor food choices, which are increasing fat accumulation, mitochondrial damage, and appetite, are the appropriate means to address obesity. More specifically, obesity is largely related to excess consumption of linoleic acid (an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat), which is prevalent in most processed foods as well as seed and nut oils. Excess consumption of linoleic acid is a major cause of chronic diseases.
Here is a shocking example of misapplied facts that demonstrate at least a conflict of interest and at worse a dangerous and unhealthy nutritional advisory.
Read this 2023 article by Nina Teicholz, who summarized the results of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition’s Food Compass published in 2021. According to Nina Teicholz, the Tufts Food Compass suggests that “Kellogg’s and Post cereals” are healthier than meat and eggs! What is the world coming to? Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition receives funding from 60 different companies including several that are ranked highly on their Food Compass. Can real nutritional science conclude that junk cereal is healthier than meat and eggs?
Now that these conflicts of interest have come to light, how many other corporations are “paying to play”? Our nutrition is not a “game” to “play”. We need and deserve correct, unbiased information that is untainted by payoffs coming from the vested interests of corporations prioritizing profits and influence. It’s no wonder that the average person as well as health professionals are confused about our human nutrition and the real goals of nutrition.
There are companies producing the food we eat who are paying off companies that supposedly were created to protect us by standardizing nutritional facts (i.e., conflicts of interest). Money and power grabs are confounding our need-to-know facts.
I have taken the path of researching medical journals and experimenting with my own body. I have been to the edge of death and back during my cancer journey. I have learned a lot and have incorporated my success and results in my 1:1 coaching program.
In my 12-Week Balanced Metabolic Coaching Program, we will go beyond just what you eat. My goal for you is to improve the quality of your life as I have done for myself. It’s that simple. We look at your pain points and come up with solutions (usually unconventional methods!) to help you feel and be your best. Interested in learning more? Book a completely free, no obligation consultation. What do you have to lose?
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