While most people know that Seventh Day Adventists are opposed to eating meat, there is little awareness of the influence the Church has had on the nutrition industry worldwide. In the 1850’s the Adventists who opposed smoking and alcohol, also believed that meat would increase carnal inclinations, particularly masturbation. They believed it should be eliminated from the human diet and set about establishing an education plan to achieve this, that is going strong today.
A look at history
Over the last 150 years, the Adventist Church slowly gained traction in the nutrition world, establishing cereal and soy companies, as well as setting up educational institutions in prominent universities. They were responsible for the establishment of the Dietetics Association, who all our dieticians are trained under and must be registered with. The Adventists also wrote the nutrition textbooks.
Their influence is wide-reaching. In 2016 there were 8515 educational institutions under Adventist management with enrollments of 1.95 million students. This is the second-largest influence on education outside the Catholic Church. There were over 6.4 million downloads of their nutrition podcasts in 2016.
The real purpose of the humble cornflake
In the late 19th century, Ellen G. White, established the Adventists medical network. She worked with Dr John Kellogg who established the Kellogg’s cereal company. Dr Kellogg had a life-long belief in health reform, based around temperance and sexual abstinence. He was particularly interested in the development of anaphrodisiac foods. The cornflakes that we feed our kids for breakfast; were developed for the purpose of preventing masturbation
Another strong proponent of the Adventist anti-masturbation movement was Sylvester Graham, who was responsible for the Graham cracker. Graham was responsible for the meat-free Garden of Eden diet, which is seeing a resurgence today.
Lenna Cooper another Seventh Day Adventist established the Australian owned cereal company Sanitarium. Fully owned by the Church and operating as a charitable society, they do not pay company tax, enabling enormous funds to be put back into expanding their plant-based message. A New Zealand food company called Life Health Foods is also Sanitarium-owned and trades with the brand names; Lisa’s Hummus & Dips, Naked Kitchen, Naked Locals, Bean Supreme, Olive Grove and Food by Chefs. They are one of the leading manufacturers of soy-based foods.
Sanitarium owns the Lifestyle Medicine Institute who supports the education of dieticians throughout Australasia.
This means that our accredited dieticians are unknowingly being educated by cereal companies.
They have been taught nutritional research that has been completed, peer-reviewed and promoted by organisations aligned with and funded by the Adventist church.
Up until 2018, Sanitarium provided nutritional facts sheets that were hard-wired into GP’s software and available as handouts to patients. Following the fallout from the Gary Fettke case, (check out https://isupportgary.com) this practice has ceased, although the handouts remain available online. In 2018 the Dietetics Association also distanced itself from Sanitarium for the same reason.
But why has a cereal company’s involvement in our medical system gone on for so long, unquestioned? Throughout New Zealand and Australia, the benefits of a whole-grain, plant-based diet has been supported virtually unquestioned by our universities, medical community, Dietetics Association, Heart Foundation and Diabetes Association. Even our media, such as the Sunday Herald, support this by refusing to even discuss an alternative viewpoint.
I am not anti-religion, or anti-plant-based diets. I support each individual finding the diet that suits them the best. In my opinion, most people eat too much crappy food and become addicted to it.
Any diet that improves the quality of nutrition is a better option.
Based on my 30 years of working in the health industry, my opinion is, meat plays an important role in sustaining our health. I believe that meat is part of our evolutionary history and is the reason we have survived as a species. This is the reason we have an acid-based digestive system. We are designed to absorb the nutrients from meat. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t eat a plant-based diet and be healthy.
We need to pay attention to the nutrient density of our food and supplement when necessary.
There are studies that show replacing our standard western diet with a plant-based focus improves health. But so would replacing this with almost anything. Health improves when toxic foods are eliminated. Although many of the early studies reduced meat and saturated fat while increasing plant-based foods they also eliminated processed foods and sugars from the diet. These studies included lifestyle changes that involved smoking cessation, alcohol reduction, and increased exercise. We would expect that health would improve following this type of plan.
As the benefits of lower-carb-higher-fat diets are observed, more research is being conducted into this area. The early results are demonstrating significant improvements in metabolic health and obesity. These diets may also be useful for dementia and certain kinds of cancers. It is early days and it will be a long wait to see what science eventually reveals.
The key message is if you want to improve your health, then get rid of all the processed toxic foods from your diet, regardless of what else you choose to eat.
 Religions Review: The Global Influence of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Diet