Foundation sets strategy to deal with 'Wheat Belly'

by Josh Sosland
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RIDGWAY, COLO. — The Grain Foods Foundation has unveiled plans to counter media publicity attracted by “Wheat Belly.” The group said that so far, little or no media coverage has been attracted.

“Mullen, working with key members of the Grain Foods Foundation’s scientific advisory board, is addressing ‘Wheat Belly’ through proactive media outreach and its ongoing rapid response program,” said Ashley Reynolds, a Mullen account executive. “In particular, the public relations team will be contacting health and nutrition reporters at print and on-line media outlets, as well as editors at major women’s magazines to influence any diet-related stories that may be published in the coming months.”

Ms. Reynolds said Mullen also will leverage the G.F.F. social media channels, including the Facebook and Twitter pages and the blog, Six Servings, to “increase awareness about the dangers of following advice from ‘Wheat Belly.’”

Offering key messages crafted in response to the book’s promotional materials, Ms. Reynolds, a registered dietitian, noted the author relies on anecdotal observations rather than scientific studies; wheat elimination “means missing out on a wealth of essential nutrients;” six servings of grain-based foods are recommended daily in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; healthy weight loss depends on energy balance rather than elimination of specific foods; and elimination of wheat products makes sense only for those with medical diagnoses such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

She said the group will lean on its scientific advisory board members to “discredit the book and ensure our messages are backed by sound science. “

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