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Letter to the Editor: Promote Healthy Eating, Not Supplements

— I echo Del. Scott Surovell’s call for Governor McDonnell’s resignation in his July 13 Dixie Pig blog http://scottsurovell.blogspot.com/2013/07/its-time-to-move-on-governor-mcdonnell.html#more. However, I come to my conclusion from the perspective as a dietitian and diabetes educator. I practice my trade using research-based evidence and recommend that people eat healthy to manage and prevent disease by choosing and preparing real foods, not by taking supplements.

Governor McDonnell, his wife and Virginia’s first lady, have allegedly been the recipients of numerous gifts, including cash, jewelry and more, from Jonnie Williams, CEO of Star Scientific, Inc., the wealthy manufacturer of the dietary supplement Anatabloc. The website promoting Anatabloc claims this dietary supplement provides anti-inflammatory support (http://anatabloc.com).

Yes, researchers have identified chronic long term inflammation as an initial cause of several chronic diseases rampant and escalating among cultures consuming a Western diet, heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes to name a few. But the road to reversal or, better yet, prevention is healthy eating, not an unproven, costly dietary supplement. Unfortunately, due to the Federal law, Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, dietary supplements are allowed on the market without research to demonstrate health benefits.

Meanwhile, as the first lady of Virginia has spent her precious time in the Governor’s mansion touting a dietary supplement with no proven health benefits, the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, has worked tirelessly with many champions by her side building the Let’s Move campaign. This and related initiatives, such as the Partnership for Healthier America, have helped promote healthy eating among citizens across the U.S. These efforts are beginning to stem the tide of childhood obesity in this and future generations. You can guess which first lady’s nutrition efforts I, as a dietitian, support.

Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE

Alexandria