One peered into a plastic bowl containing a salad of lettuce, bacon, chicken, cheese, and ranch dressing.Cheerful reps at the Hershey's booth passed out miniature cartons of chocolate and strawberry milk.The woman with the salad nodded in agreement, poking at a wan chicken strip with her plastic fork. The women were registered dietitians halfway through day two of the annual conference of the California Dietetic Association (CDA).One recent Friday afternoon, in a Mariott Hotel ballroom in Pomona, California, I watched two women skeptically evaluate their Mc Donald's lunches.The Wheat Council hosted a presentation about how gluten intolerance was just a fad, not a real medical problem."I guess it's good to know that they have healthier options now," said the woman with the salad.She claimed that the sponsors did not influence any of the content in the program.Later, one panelist said that she'd been dismayed to learn that some schools had banned sugary treats from classroom Valentine's Day parties, which "could be a teachable moment for kids about moderation." The moderator nodded in agreement, and added, "The bottom line is that all sugars contain the same calories, so you can't say that there is one ingredient causing the obesity crisis." The claim was presented as fact, despite mounting scientific evidence that high-fructose corn syrup prompts more weight gain than other sugars.The sessions—the real meat and potatoes of the conference—had food industry sponsors as well.The other arranged two chocolate chip cookies and a yogurt parfait on a napkin.The International Food Information Council—whose supporters include Coca-Cola, Hershey, Yum Brands, Kraft, and Mc Donald's—presented a discussion in which the panelists assured audience members that genetically modified foods were safe and environmentally sustainable.