Industry-funded study of the week: Nestlé’s latest
Estimation of Total Usual Dietary Intakes of Pregnant Women in the United States. Regan L. Bailey, Susan G. Pac, Victor L. Fulgoni III, et al. JAMA Network Open. 2019;2(6):e195967. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.5967 June 21, 2019
Question How do the usual dietary intakes of pregnant US women compare with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes for nutritional adequacy and excess?
Conclusions and Relevance. This study suggests that a significant number of pregnant women are not meeting recommendations for vitamins D, C, A, B6, K, and E, as well as folate, choline, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc even with the use of dietary supplements.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Bailey reported serving as a consultant to Nutrition Impact LLC, Nestle/Gerber, RTI International, and the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Dr Fulgoni, as Senior Vice President of Nutrition Impact LLC, reported performing consulting and database analyses for various food and beverage companies and related entities. Ms Pac and Dr Reidy reported being employees of Nestle Nutrition. No other disclosures were reported.
Funding/Support: This research was funded by Nestle Nutrition. Nestle Nutrition and Nutrition Impact had a financial agreement for completion of the statistical analysis. Drs Bailey and Catalano received an honorarium for the time contributed to manuscript development.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: Nestle Nutrition had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Comment: It’s Nestlé, not Nestle, the company, not me. Nestlé is the largest food and beverage company in the world, selling $94 billion worth of products in 2018. This study is part of the company’s plan to focus on personalized nutrition—functional food products targeted to the personal nutritional needs of individuals.
We continue to invest in long-term innovation projects with the potential for high returns. Examples include infant and maternal nutrition, healthy aging, personalized nutrition, and understanding the microbiome.
It is in Nestlé’s corporate interests to demonstrate that pregnant women are deficient in essential nutrients as a basis for creating nutrient-supplemented products targeted to this group. Are U.S. pregnant women really deficient in 13 nutrients as reported here? This study’s conclusions are based on comparison of self-reported dietary intake to average daily nutrient intakes. They are not based on laboratory or observed measurements of clinical signs of deficiency. To me, this looks like a typical industry-funded study with results favorable to the sponsor’s marketing interests, as I discuss in my book, Unsavory Truth.