Saturday, March 25, 2006

American Dietetic Association promotes low-fat ice cream

In a link from The Common Voice, I read about the American Dietetic Association's recent web page promoting low-fat ice cream with the advertising slogan, "We All Scream for Ice Cream."

Can you imagine a worse message of unrestrained frenetic consumption of a high-sugar dessert? The conventional wisdom in dietetic circles is that, for many people, a zero-tolerance message for favorite desserts is unwise, but that a message of moderate portions and reduced frequency within a balanced diet is compelling and effective. In this weblog, I am a disciplined and obedient follower of this lesson from my dietetic colleagues. But really -- "We All Scream for Ice Cream"?

The ADA web page says this ad was produced by the "ADA Public Relations Team." This raised several questions, which I sent on March 9 by email to the media email address on the ADA site (links added).
1. Could you please tell me if any funding from the dairy industry, the fluid milk or dairy checkoff boards, or the federal government, helped support the new ADA web page entitled, “We All Scream for Ice Cream”?

2. Could you please say if there was any assistance from the above groups in suggesting the messages or composing the language in that web page?

3. Can you please explain who is the “ADA Public Relations Team,” mentioned in the web page? If there was no support from the dairy industry, who pushed this message, and why on earth?

I apologize for the loaded questions. But I simply cannot believe that the ADA policy on its own would be to promote a high-sugar dessert with such a strident marketing message. The ADA’s role in positive nutrition health promotion is extremely important in the current U.S. food policy environment. I have read the ADA ethics policy, and this is setting off my alarm bells.

I contacted you a while ago about the web page on dairy weight loss, which is inconsistent with the Federal Government's dietary guidelines. It claimed you could lose weight “without depriving yourself” on a high calcium high dairy diet. At that time, your office acknowledged by email that it was written with support from the Milk Processors Education Program. Has that page been removed? Would that page now be consistent with your ethics policy?

Please take this respectful query seriously – it is not frivolous criticism or harangue. Please let me quote from your response in future writing.

Thanks, Parke
Here is the response I received from the American Dietetic Association:
[Nothing]
Comments are open to all. Please consider contacting the American Dietetic Association, or leaving a comment here, especially if you are a member.

2 comments:

Barbara said...

Give 'em hell, Parke. I agree with you--it sounds rather like their palms were crossed with plenty of gold in order to come up with that ice cream ad.

Robyn said...

Wow, great response from the ADA!

(sigh) This is scary.

And if we're gonna eat ice cream, we should go for the real, full fat heart clogging stuff. Two years in a row I've had roommates who like to eat low-fat stuff. But they'd eat...a pint of ice cream. I have no self control so I wouldn't even buy a pint of anything, harharh...oh, crap.