Kraft Gets “Kids Eat Right” Logo.

by Dana Snook on March 16, 2015

American Cheese

Have you heard the news, The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has endorsed Kraft American Cheese? As a registered dietitian I feel compelled to talk about this. I recently have read several blogs ripping dietitians apart for this decision. Listen, I totally get it! In a field where I have to defend my credentials almost on a daily basis this is so confusing for the consumer. How can we, the nutrition experts actually endorse Kraft American Cheese? I’ve been asking myself the same question over the past two days.

When I was 13 years old, I knew I was going to become a dietitian. My sister was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and the dietitian was an intricate part of my families life for the week she spent in the hospital. Back then the field of dietetics was small, only large universities had the degree and my guidance counselor didn’t even know how to advise me because it wasn’t in any of her books. She even tried to discourage me from the field because it didn’t pay well according to some book she did find. It wasn’t about that for me, it was about helping other families understand nutrition, it really came down to helping people for me. Fast forward 13 years, the industry is booming and with an overwhelming majority of “nutrition” experts that have no credentials to call themselves so. No science to back it up, just fads, trends and crazy restrictive ideas. So how can the association that supports us as dietitians make such a crucial mistake by endorsing a food and I mean any food?

When I work with my clients, I work with them just where they are. If a family can’t even get dinner on the table for the family every night you won’t hear me talking to them about real food at their first appointment. You will hear me encouraging them to develop a plan and structure for meals and snacks. Have I ever recommended Kraft Cheese to a client, absolutely NOT because I actually don’t recommend ANY brands to ANY clients because that is their choice. I may recommend a snack for children of Cheese and Crackers and allow the parent to decide what kind of cheese and crackers to serve. In a world where there are too many restrictions put on food, I refuse to tell any parent to NEVER serve something (well unless it’s a food allergy/sensitivity issue of course).

Here is my problem with the endorsement, I don’t believe it’s our role to endorse a certain food. Is Cheddar Cheese better than American? Is yogurt better than milk? There is a place for all these foods, and families who raise competent eaters can still make the decision to serve Kraft Cheese on occasion with no negative health consequences, but an endorsement may sway a family towards a food that may not be right for their family too. Do I think Kraft American cheese is a pillar of health, no, and it isn’t something that I bring into my house, but that is my choice.

You may still remain confused by this endorsement just like I am. Just remember, we can’t judge every book by it’s cover just like we can judge every dietitian by the association that supports us. Just remember, whatever is on the front of the package is just marketing, the only real nutrtion information is on the food label.

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