Having said “hopefully nothing will surprise you by the time you get to five-a-day”, hopefully this chapter will shock you. It shocked me and I am continuing to uncover more conflicts of interest every week and they will form the basis of a future update for the book and/or some national newspapers may be covering the stories in the interim. I had absolutely no idea how embedded the food and drink industry is in the world of dieting until researching for this chapter. I have been even more shocked to see how conflicted dieticians and obesity forums and organisations are. I hope you will be similarly shocked. Perhaps you are a dietician and had no idea that your professional body was compromised in this way. I hope you are appalled and reject the tainted advice that you are being asked to give out as a result of what you read in the penultimate chapter of the book.
Food and drink companies are the new countries of the world. PepsiCo – the largest – would occupy 60th place in the ranking of countries world-wide. These countries exist to grow. All of them want us to be consuming more of their products – more fizzy drinks, more confectionery, more crisps, more take-aways, more burgers and chips, more muffins, biscuits and cakes. Their billions of dollars are invested into making food irresistible and advertising to us so that we eat more of it. Their funds are also going into the dietary advice industry and their investment is being rewarded. Dietitians tell us to base our meals on starchy foods.
They tell us a calorie is a calorie – i.e. the processed calories are no different to nature’s real offerings. They tell us to eat man-made spreads in preference to nature’s butter. They tell us eggs are bad for us and we eat sugary cereal for breakfast instead. They tell us fat is bad so that we think that real food (meat, fish, eggs, dairy foods etc) is going to kill us and man-made products, which we never ate until 20-30 years ago, are going to save us. The things that we have taken into our belief system are quite literally crazy. We are additionally mad if we think that continuing to embrace this advice is going to do anything other than continue the obesity epidemic.