FNCE 2014 – Artificial Sweeteners, GMOs, Prebiotics + Which Fats are Actually Healthy!

Hi everyone,

After a side trip to Atlanta for the annual dietetic conference, FNCE…what can I say, except for what an experience!

Where to begin but to share with you that the extremes in healthy eating messaging where certainly present throughout the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 4 days conference earlier this week.

From Coca Cola booths promoting their artificially sweetened drinks, to the smaller niche companies showcasing their amazing pre and probiotic rich functional beverages with live active cultures, it couldn’t have been a more stark contrast.

Splenda and Equal sachets present alongside sugar at breakfast coffee stations, whilst simultaneously there were lectures being presented on the gut micro-biome and the importance of removing artificial sweeteners from the diet.

I didn’t know if to laugh or cringe at some of the responses I got when I questioned retailers about their products. One example was whether a high fiber ingredient that was made from corn and being promoted for its use within the food industry was GMO. Instead of simply staying yes it is, I got a response of “It’s not not GMO” – I do sometimes wonder who trains these people with their messaging! I’m pretty sure “GMO” and “not non-GMO” are the same thing though…right?!

I also couldn’t understand how refined white cakes were being served at breakfast events being put on for nutrition professionals, or how dietitians could be lining up for a machine dispensing diet cola beverages, however on the other hand, I was extremely happy to see that one of the sessions that was approved for presenting was on the dangers of the use of palm oil in the food supply system, the shift away from the low fat messages that needs to take place, and the importance of sustainability.

In my mind this was evidence that no one is being brain washed one way or the other (as some social media celebrities like to push in order to demonise my whole profession), and it is up to us as individual practitioners to stay on top of the actual science, and stand strong in our messages.

All in all, the content provided in the educational sessions confirmed that the messages I continue to try and engrain in all of you that have been supportive enough to join my journey, are on target, and that we must continue to focus on prebiotics, probiotics, the type of fatty acids consumed, as well as the practical application of which food sources actually provide these nutrients in the context of the whole diet.

The importance of gut health was engrained with more and more evidence pooling together to show that the make of bacteria in your digestive system effect more than just how your stomach feels, but rather how lean your body can be, and how diseases can be prevented. The vital role pre-biotics play in fuelling the probiotics for these benefits to be achieved was also highlighted multiple times (which certainly made me smile!).

probiotic and prebiotic beverage

I think a picture paints a thousand words so I thought I would share with you both the cringe worthy booths in the exhibit, the awesome health products that were being brought to market, some of the fun events I had the pleasure of being included in by a range of PR agencies, as well as some of the great slides that I came across during the educational sessions that may help engrain the important nutritional information worth taking away with you.

There are almost 100 images up, so make sure you slide through them at your own pace! (If you click on the magnifying glass in the middle of the image you will get a much clearer picture so that you are able to read the nutrition facts and slide content).

I hope those of you across the globe who were unable to attend in person feel like you have had a little taste of what went on there after clicking through the slide show above.

Wonderful Pistachio US team member Maggie, myself, and my friend Alissa who is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Now back in NYC, I feel like I am in countdown mode for this chapter of my life; Six weeks time and I will back to my homeland Australia for at least a few months…Summer here I come 😉

It has been a huge year on all fronts, and I  haven’t quite found the words at this stage to describe how I feel, but I certainly know I feel like I have “lived”.

Completely clarifying the types of people worthy of devoting energy towards, surprising oneself at just how resilient you can be when put to the test, and keeping a strong optimistic mind in full tact; all in all, I would like to think that these elements in themselves are a positive which are worthy of at the least a smile at the end of the day.

Now however I think it is also time to enjoy a few Mornington Peninsula beach trips, summer sunsets, and pure calmness..

mt martha

Until next time,

TD x


About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in NYC. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, barre and HIIT class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea on how to make this world a healthier and better place.