FNCE 2017 Thoughts and Recap
I have attended the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo for the past several years. Traditionally I have attended as a representative of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, which is an advocacy group we formed back in 2013, to promote responsible and ethical sponsorship within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In 2016 I wrote a recap which highlights concerns around industry-sponsored continuing professional education (CPE) units for registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). FNCE 2017 was a celebration of 100 years and this theme was certainly central at the event.
I was not planning to attend this year but was alerted that I had won an award, so felt an obligation to show up! My award was for “Excellence in Practice” for Addictions and was presented by the Behavioral Health Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. The award was presented at a breakfast at 6:30am Monday morning. There was also awards given to an RDN for excellence in practice in eating disorders, mental health, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. We all had a few minutes to give a speech and received little plaques. It’s always great to be recognized for accomplishments.
On Monday I went to a session called “Food Fraud” which was about deception in our food supply. Fake honey, mislabeled seafood etc. The focus was on seafood since there is much fraud happening globally. There is a website with more info. On Monday I spent an hour wondering the expo floor. It has improved from previous years, but of course Monsanto and The Sugar Association were present. It didn’t upset me like it has in the past, and I did not take photos since it is no surprise to anyone that these companies are here. Monday afternoon I attended a talk called “Intolerance vs. Avoidance” which discussed the intersection between food allergies and eating disorders. A certified eating disorder registered dietitian discussed common concerns around food allergies with restrictive patients and those with “orthorexia nervosa” while an MD gave some background on testing for food allergies.
Tuesday I went to talk on “Nutritional Genomics” where the speakers summarized the latest advances in the intersection between genetics and nutrition. They discussed a website called 23 and Me where one can send in a spit sample to get personalized nutrition information. Unfortunately, the recommendations are pretty generic, but I am still curious and will request a kit! The closing keynote was a physicist (Dr. Michio Kaku) who discussed “The Future of the Mind” where he outlined current advances that could revolutionize healthcare. I was most impressed by the contact lens with a screen on it. Digitized healthcare definitely sounds intriguing, but much of what he described seems like a potential disaster for mental and spiritual health. Overall, my experience for FNCE 2017 was different this year. I was at the event as an undercover journalist. Just another RDN trying to make a difference in people’s lives…