The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. Today, I share my interview with a colleague of mine whom I respect and admire, Andy Bellatti. Andy Bellatti, MS, RD is a Las Vegas-based dietitian with a plant-centric and whole-food focus who takes an interest in food politics, deceptive food marketing, sustainability, and social justice. As a fellow Registered Dietitian, he is championing a very important cause in healthcare today…separating health policy from its deep ties to the food industry and he helped found Dietitians For Professional Integrity (DFPI). As I went further in my education and started my career, I saw blatant examples of the food industry co-opting and misrepresenting science and shaping the discussion in its favor. Earlier this year, public health lawyer Michele Simon (another colleague whose work has inspired me) released an investigative report about the Academy’s Big Food ties. In terms of our direction — a lot of it depends on what takes place over the next year.
We recognize that systemic change takes time, but also have a timeline in mind of when we would like to see certain things addressed. You don’t have to be a member of Congress or the President of the United States to bring change.

This entry was posted in Featured, Interviews and tagged Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Andy Bellatti, big food, consumer, diet, dietetics, Dietitians For Professional Integrity, Food, food industry, food politics, health, interview, nutrition, policy, politics by admin.
His work has been published in Grist, The Huffington Post, Today’s Dietitian, Food Safety News, and Civil Eats, among others. Marion Nestle (a role model who I’m also grateful to call a mentor) is a professor and past chair of that department. That report received national attention, and that was when I decided it was time to band together with other dietitians and start a grassroots advocacy movement.
Some Dietetic Practice Groups within the Academy have also been working on this issue from the inside.
When you’re using a pottery wheel, you need one hand to work inside and one hard to work outside. It’s a real problem when other health professionals and the public question our credibility. Early next year, we will announce other ways in which supporters can get involved in more tangible ways. Even if no one on the ballot is particularly focused on food issues, look for candidates who take a stance against corporate abuses, or someone who champions issues of environmental welfare.

As a Registered Dietitian, I am grateful to have you representing a greater good and will continue to support all of your efforts. He is also the co-founder and Strategic Director of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, a group that advocates for ethical and socially responsible partnerships within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Similarly, you need dietitians to tackle this from inside the organization, and you also need some sort of external pressure. Many RDs are aware of our efforts, but there are many who have yet to learn about us (and some who have heard inaccuracies). Education and voting with our dollar seems doable, but look at what has happened thus far regarding GMO labeling…Big Food money talks loudly and is hugely effective at confusing the public.

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