I’m a nutrition consultant for various food and beverage companies, but my opinions are my own.

October is here, and that means the Academy of Nutrition’s annual 2013 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™, (aka FNCE® – “fen-cee”) is around the corner. This year’s conference is happening from October 19-22 in Houston, TX, with the theme: Insights to Actions.

In past years there has been a lot of buzz around the EXPO floor. Some registered dietitians feel that certain food corporations should not be present there, however I always disagree. The EXPO is a chance for me to visit hundreds of companies (all in one space) whose products my clients use. I get to see what sorts of new products are being marketed, that I may not otherwise know about. Of course, in addition to providing information about products and services, these sponsors and 2013 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ participants also provide support for the expenses of the entire conference itself – which is a valuable learning and networking opportunity for my entire profession. The Corn Refiners Association will sponsor a Briefing on Monday, October 21 from 12:45 to 1:05 PM. with Dr. Mark Kern, who will discuss simple steps to take when evaluating scientific nutritional studies. More detail here.

Here are some 2013 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ at-a-glance highlights that you may not want to miss:

    New this year, FNCE® has a conference app! Using the app, you can plan your day, view sessions, maps, and exhibitor locations, helping you get around, and making the most of your time at the conference.

    I, along with the registered dietitian network and biochemist Dr John White, will be at the Corn Refiners Association booth 1813 on both Sunday and Monday, where we’ll have copies of the latest research about high fructose corn syrup available, as well as sets of “sweetener flash cards” which serve as a very useful educational tool to help dietitians and nutrition professionals explain the biochemical make-up of sugars to nutrition students. There will also be a sign in sheet at the booth for RDs who may be interested in guest blogging. Stop by and see us!

On Sunday –

    As always, there are many sessions, providing a variety of material within the scope of practice of the registered dietitian. I plan to attend the session titled “Communicating Shades of Gray: Getting the Science Story Straight” with Dr. Johanna Dwyer and Dr. Edward Archer. In addition to learning more about how to evaluate nutritional research, it will be quite interesting to hear about the case studies they present, which lead to various sets of media reports.

“Dietitians translate research into recommendations for their clients and others, making it important to be able to critically analyze and translate scientific evidence to a variety of audiences, particularly in an era of an exploding number of media stories with often conflicting conclusions regarding diet, physical activity and health.

    As a cookbook author, I’m excited to learn more about the 2013 Lenna Frances Cooper Memorial Lecture on Sunday – “Bringing Cooking Back: Food and Culinary Expertise as a Key to Dietitians’ Future Success” – presented by Food Network star and dietitian Ellie Krieger . In my opinion, for our nation to become healthier, we have to learn to balance our choices, and also learn how to cook again. Recent generations may have a lack of basic culinary skill that is not just important to overall health, but even survival.

    Diet and its role in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has been a hot topic. In Sunday’s session: “Pediatric Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Implications for the RD”, you’ll learn how the RD can have a unique role in the screening, assessment and diagnosis of individuals with NAFLD

On Monday –

    As a member of the Nutrition Entrepreneur dietetic practice group, I have to give a shout out to Joanne Larsen and Marjorie Geiser who will be presenting “Disruptive Success: Moving from Traditional RD to Thriving Entrepreneur”

    Also on Monday, supermarket dietitians will present “How supermarket dietitians build bridges to impact community health”. Its always good to catch a few more tips on advising consumers about grocery shopping!

On Tuesday –

    Most RDNs these days must be involved in some sort of media. “Meet the Media Experts” with my colleagues Neva Cochran, Robin Plotkin and Angela Lemond, who will review how to write for print media, create a media presence and identify opportunities in social media.

All in all, this year’s FNCE conference looks like it has a lot to offer in cutting edge media and tech-related topics, as well as bringing the nutritional science forward so we can practice with ethics and integrity, remaining an evidence-based profession. I hope to see you in Texas!