The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, plays a pivotal role in shaping the food policies issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), known as the Dietary Guidelines. As it works on the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2025-2030, it’s important to note that the Academy’s decisions on what is and isn’t healthy for Americans are significantly influenced by its relationship with the ultra-processed food (UPF) industry. This relationship, which has seen the Academy accept nearly $15 million from multi-processed food companies, agribusiness companies, and Big Pharma, raises serious concerns about the objectivity of its recommendations and, instead, suggests it regularly contributes to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and cancer that are destroying lives.

In 2023, the Keep You Sick Industries (my words) sponsoring the Academy, which is not entirely transparent about its corporate financial contributors, included companies making billions off ultra-processed foods. While the Academy’s website recognizes participants in its sponsorship program, it conveniently leaves out even more, including advertisers of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, exhibitors of the Food and Nutrition Conference Expo (FNCE), marketing email list rentals, sponsors of dietetic practice groups (DPG), sponsors of member interest groups (MIG) or sponsors of Foundation events and programs. This lack of transparency raises serious questions about the Academy’s integrity and its commitment to public health. Even without knowing who was footing the bill for those influential groups (but they include baby formula makers, Big Pharma goliaths who make diabetes and heart meds, the candy industry, and so on), three of the Academy’s most prominent sponsors in 2023 were the American Beverage Association, General Mills, and Tate & Lyle.

A quick look at the corrupt American Beverage Association (ABA) reveals it is a massive trade association representing hundreds of beverage producers, distributors, franchise companies, and support industries. Together, they bring to market countless brands of flavors and packages of addictive sugary drinks of all kinds—exercise drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, juice beverages, soft drinks, carbonated waters, coffees, and teas. The ABA operates as a middleman between the beverage industry, the government, and the public and deems itself the “national voice for the non-alcoholic refreshment beverage industry.”

Reinvigorating its image, the ABA website proudly notes that the company recently “created & implemented national school beverage guidelines”  along with the Coca-Cola Company, Keurig, Dr. Pepper, and PepsiCo to bring “more choices, less sugar.” This seemingly positive initiative is overshadowed by the fact that they throw toxic aspartame and sucralose—which is genotoxic and breaks down human DNA—in our kids’ drinks to replace the sugar. Since the ABA sponsors the Academy, it can’t be bothered to worry about the effects of those poisons. Sound familiar? It should; the same evil has been pushed into our kids with the deadly COVID-19 jabs. In fact, like the mRNA propaganda, the ABA even paid registered dietician partners of the Academy to jump on social media and promote the safety of these toxic sweeteners, a clear manipulation of public opinion and an utter betrayal of their duty to protect public health.

Moving on to General Mills, for those aware, it is hard not to associate the gigantic conglomerate with the rampant use of GMOs and cancer-causing glyphosate. I cringe every time I see a mother feeding her baby Cheerios. General Mills’ long list of largely ultra-processed products is a goldmine for those profiting from cheap, nutritionless, sugar and GMO-laden addictive goodies cleverly advertised as family-friendly foods. Unfortunately, the monopoly has also snatched up brands once considered healthier alternatives, like Annies, EPIC, and Cascadian Farms, leaving one tasked with being super prudent about how these brands evolve.

For its part, General Mills is determined to normalize its unhealthy food products. David Chavern, chief executive of the Consumer Brand Association, which represents General Mills, has gone to great lengths to declare the company’s ultra-processed foods aren’t harmful to the human body. Chavern insists there is no reliable science-based definition for UPFs, stating the term unfairly demonizes all packaged food. On behalf of General Mills, Chavern wrote last November:

“[Ultra-processed] has infiltrated hashtags and trending topics, appearing in newsfeeds as a boogeyman set on undermining consumers’ autonomy to choose what best suits their dietary needs.”

While evildoers assist the group every year, the last of the big three manipulating the Academy in 2023—and thus the health of you and your family—is Tate & Lyle. If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of the group that’s been around 160 years. According to its website, one of the company’s talents is to “transform lives by making food tastier and healthier.” The company manufactures all kinds of lab-created sugary and starchy concoctions and Splenda’s sucralose artificial sweetener. “Sucralose” is a marketing moniker that Tate & Lyle concocted with no connection to science. The company was undoubtedly banking on its similarity to sucrose, a naturally occurring sugar. In its first decade, Splenda was peddled as “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” Several regulatory agencies deemed this to be deceptive advertising, as they should. We now know sucralose is linked to leukemia, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.

Besides accepting funding from the companies it should instead be investigating, USRTK revealed that the Academy’s internal documents establish that the company has, over the past few years, also invested in ultra-processed food companies, including $453,508 in stock holdings in Nestle S.A., and $265,227 in PepsiCo. Besides its food investments, Academy’s internal records also highlight that it invested in Big Pharma outfits, including Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Allegra, Perrigo Co., and Pfizer Inc. Nothing to see here.

Thankfully, the FTC has “cracked down” on the shady manipulation of public health with false advertising, but more needs to be done. Besides slapping the wrist of the puppets working for the Academy and UPF giants for not disclosing who was behind their social media posts to exploit followers with fake news, there needs to be an overall shift of focus highlighting the destruction caused by counterfeit foods and sinister policies attached to greed. And the Academy must be held accountable.

When asked by journalist Sharyl Attkisson how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics gained such prominence as a nutrition group that “certifies people and holds such sway,” USRTK’s Gary Ruskin remarked that their taking of bribes is a “sin of omission sort of thing.” He explained that when you look at what the Academy says about UPFs, what they DON’T say is “Don’t eat added sugars and don’t eat junk food and don’t eat candy.” It’s a symbiotic relationship that works because that is precisely what the ultra-processed food companies want them to do—stay away from the “don’ts.” Considering the fact Americans eat more UPFs than any other nation—UPFs make up a whopping 67 percent of the calories that our kids eat—the problem is that it comes at the expense of the nation’s crumbling health. Ruskin shared:

“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has got to go clean and stop taking corrupt money from the ultra-processed food industry. But people have got to demand it and say, “Look, we’re not going to listen to dieticians anymore until they’re honest.”

The big picture is that our nation’s dietician organization is not trustworthy for information and that people need to find better sources of information, sources that do not have conflicts of interest.”

Generic avatar

Tracy Beanz & Michelle Edwards

Tracy Beanz is an investigative journalist with a focus on corruption. She is known for her unbiased, in-depth coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. She hosts the Dark to Light podcast, found on all major video and podcasting platforms. She is a bi-weekly guest on the Joe Pags Radio Show, has been on Steve Bannon’s WarRoom and is a frequent guest on Emerald Robinson’s show. Tracy is Editor-in-chief at