Paleo Diet

North Carolina's War on Free Speech About Diet Goes Beyond Just the Paleo Case

Sara Burrows at Carolina Journal had done some great digging into the practices of the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition.


Sara Burrows at Carolina Journal had done some great digging into the practices of the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition.

They are, regular readers of Reason might remember, the villains in the case of Cooksey v. Futrell et al., in which they tried to censor the website of a blogger advocating the "paleo" diet, for diabetics and other living humans. The Institute for Justice helped Mr. Cooksey file suit in defense of his First Amendment rights, though a federal court so far has shot them down. They do plan an appeal.

Well, as Burrows found, their officious nonsense goes beyond paleo bloggers. Some lowlights:

the board…has investigated nearly 50 people or organizations over the past five years, including athletic trainers, a nurse, a pharmacist, a spa, and even Duke Integrative Medicine. All have been accused of the same crime — "practicing nutrition" without a license….. 

 The board, which represents licensed professionals working in the field of diet and nutrition, is interested in anyone who gives advice about what people should eat, whether it's a medical doctor, a gym trainer, or a man on the street. 

And how do these bits of allegedly illegal advice come to their attention? Why, through the public spirited busy-bodyism of those who see themselves in "competition" with such advisors (talkers), natch.

Registered dieticians file complaints against providers of nutritional advice on a regular basis, and the board — which was established to protect their professions (along with public safety) — is "obligated" to launch full-fledged investigations of every complaint. 

If the accused is found guilty of "assessing" someone's dietary needs and "counseling" that person as to what she should eat, the party is told to stop. Refusal to do so could lead to misdemeanor criminal charges, which could result in fines or even jail time. 

The Board's director Charla Burill tells the Carolina Journal that it's cool to make general statements about what people in general should eat, but if you tell a specific diabetic she should eat less sugar, or a specific overweight person he should eat fewer carbs, that becomes something only a licensed (by them) pro can do.

And it's not just a matter of proving you are savvy enough not to harm the public to avoid the officious eyes of the Board, as the Journal points out:

Holistic nutritionist Liz Lipski has a Ph.D. in clinical nutrition and 30 years of experience in the field. She is board certified in Texas and California. She is the director of doctoral studies at Hawthorn University, author of Digestive WellnessLeaky Gut Syndrome, and other nutrition books, and founder of Innovative Healing, a wellness company. She has designed and taught nutrition courses and trains medical doctors, dieticians, and nutritionists to use clinical nutrition in their practices. 

But because she fails to meet far lesser educational requirements prescribed by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition, she cannot practice her occupation in any capacity in the state. In order to become licensed in North Carolina, Lipski would have to return to school at the undergraduate level for several semesters. Instead, she chose to move to Atlanta.

The public, duly protected (from anyone competing with state-approved advisers). The state: generally bad for your health.

NEXT: Zimmerman "Stand Your Ground" Trial Set for April

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  1. Since I’m not a licensed dietician I won’t speak to what food to eat, but I think that Board needs more exercise – like being chased by a mob armed with baseball bats.

    1. Do you have a license to give out exercise advice? Thought not!

    2. As long as it is not that Homeopathic bullshit, I say assess away!

      I am at war with the Homeopathic medtards.

      “Head On”, my ass!

      1. The great thing about homeopaths is that if you shoot them with a really tiny bullet, say a .22 short, it affects them the same as if they were hit with a .50 cal.

        Huge money saver.

        1. I just tell them I’m shooting them with a lead atom, and their brains so the rest.

      2. I was going to link to xkcd’s take on homeopathy, but the server squirrels stupidly claim it’s spam.

    3. like being chased by a mob armed with baseball bats tar and feather.

      Fixed it.

      Not that baseball bats wouldnt work too.

  2. “?rights aren’t ‘rights’ if someone can take ’em away; they’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country: a Bill of Temporary Privileges. And if you read the news, even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter.” – George Carlin

  3. As both an exercise physiologist and a registered nurse, I regularly give people dietary advise. I did have a registered dietician tell me that dietary advise is outside my scope of practice, and that “technically, you’re not legally allowed to do it.”

    I asked her to explain to me why the diabetic diets she prescribes contain 45 g of CHOs with each meal. Then I suggested she read Taubes, unlearn some of the falsehoods they fed her in grad school, and then kindly go fuck off.

    1. SWAT raid in 3…2…


      (If you’re a chick I apologize for the confusion.)

      1. Dude, exercise physiologist. That’s like a license to bang, isn’t it? For the ones that don’t radiate gay vibes?

        1. Sigh. “Matt Stevers, Male Nurse” was an old one-time SNL skit starring Robert Wagner.

          1. No one watches SNL but you, idiot.

            1. Even I don’t watch it. I’m trying not to be as big an idiot as usual.

          2. That sketch is so popular there are tons of Youtube clips of it to link to.

            1. It’s not my fault, NBC is very protective of its property!

              1. Annoys the shit out of me. There are so many SNL skits with the original cast I’d love to see, but I am not going to buy them.

    3. Please tell me you really did tell her to fuck off. I need some good news after reading the last few posts.

  4. Advise should be advice, and an edit button would be nice.

    1. No more rhyming, I mean it!

      1. Anybody want a peanut?

        Oh fuck, that could be considered dietary advice, couldn’t it?

        1. Oh fuck, that could be considered dietary advice, couldn’t it?

          It depends on what you want us to do with the peanut.

          1. Would calling you a hippopotamic land mass qualify as dietary advice, I wonder?

            1. Westley: No, no. We have already succeeded. I mean, what are the three terrors of the Pacific Northwest? One, the hippie twerps – no problem. There’s a drumming sound preceding each; we can avoid them . Two, the hillbilly loggers, which you were clever enough to discover what they look like, so in the future we can avoid them too.
              Buttercup: Westley, what about the P.O.U.S.’s?
              Westley: Primates Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.

  5. Oh lord, here we go again.

    the board…has investigated nearly 50 people or organizations over the past five years, including athletic trainers, a nurse, a pharmacist, a spa, and even Duke Integrative Medicine. All have been accused of the same crime ? “practicing nutrition” without a license…..

    What was the debate here when this all started? Government pressure, threats of prosecution, that kind of stuff, wasn’t a violation of your rights until your dog was shot? Then and only then harm had been done. But merely telling you to get on the ground or your head would be blown off… no harm done. No speech was chilled.

  6. …the board…has investigated nearly 50 people or organizations over the past five years, including athletic trainers, a nurse, a pharmacist, a spa, and even Duke Integrative Medicine.

    “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE ADVICE. Son, we live in a world that has digestive systems, and those digestive systems have to be guarded by men with certifications. You don’t want the advice, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that digestive system! You NEED me on that digestive system!”

  7. When are they going to arrest the Cookie Monster?

    1. Don’t worry, as entertainment at his inaugural President Romney is going to have all the Sesame Street muppets fight to the death Hunger Games-style. It will be glorious.

      1. I assumed he would just execute them on live television.

        1. In front of a sold out crowd at FedEx field.

        2. Letting some of them live leaves hope for the others. Of course, the winners wind up like the winners of The Running Man.

      2. I suppose it’s worth asking which Muppet would win a Hunger Games. My wife came up with suggestions that I countered:
        Animal: Crazy enough to do some damage, but to crazy to bet on to o the distance.
        Ms. Piggy: Her brutality is manifest, but she has too many enemies. She’d make her first kill only to wind up with a knife in her back from someone else.
        Scooter: This wasn’t serious. I just wanted to mention Scooter.

        I have to think the Swedish Chef would win. Nobody would expect him, he can prepare all sorts of food, and he has impressive weapons skills.

          1. This is my favorite and is apt.

            1. Wow, maybe Big Bird has a secret diplomacy weapon.

    2. Cookie doesn’t give advice to others. “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me” is not advice, merely a statement. Why don’t you think before you say these things? You’re worse than FoE.

      1. cookie monster doesn’t even eat cookies anymore.
        cookies are a sometimes food now

        1. I remember Cookie the way he was, and nothing can take that away from me. Except a lot of booze.

        2. What, is he like…tofu, or salad monster now? Must be the diebeeteez

          1. It’s diabeetus, you Philistine!

  8. As a certified health opinionator I recommend that North Carolina policy makers take two cyanide pills a day to keep the doctor away.


    as noted at by blogger orin kerr, it all comes down to Wed where two key cases are going down. note also that kerr is exceptionally well informed (great commentary in the thread btw as well), as he has actually provided assistance to the defense in both cases that re going before the supreme court.

    these cases are exceptionally important cases in the privacy realm. Note… for those of us lucky to live WA state where a right to privacy is recognized, these cases will have little to no effect on police practices, since we LEO’s are already MUCH more restricted than under the federal standard due to our recognition of a right to privacy under the state constitution.

    otoh, for most other states, and for situations where the cops are acting as part of a federal task force, well…


      Kerr notes an interesting sub-issue in the harris case to watch for: I also wanted to flag one very interesting sub-issue in Harris. When a dog alerts but no drugs are found, was the dog “wrong” to alert? The state says that the dog may have alerted properly even if no drugs are recovered, as the dog has been trained to smell for certain chemicals which may be present even if no drugs are actually recovered. For example, the dog might be alerting to residual odors of the drug that don’t lead to recoverable amounts. The defense says that this alert is nonetheless a false alert, as there were no drugs to be found. The disagreement implicates an interesting issue: Does probable cause to believe contraband is inside a space mean probable cause to believe that enough contraband is there so that contraband can be recovered? Or does it mean probable cause to believe that even just a trace amount of contraband is there, even if it is not enough to be recovered? We don’t run into that problem with most kinds of evidence. Imagine the police apply for a warrant to search a home for a stolen diamond. Either the diamond is there or not: It’s an on-off switch. But drugs can appear in trace amounts, and a dog might alert to an amount that the police can’t actually recover. It’s an interesting issue to watch for in Wednesday’s arguments.

      1. Seeing as the dog is only doing what its handler wants, you could say that yes, the dog is wrong to alert in such a case.

      2. Does probable cause to believe contraband is inside a space mean probable cause to believe that enough contraband is there so that contraband can be recovered?

        Here’s the real problem. An “open air sniff” is used to create probable cause that the substance is in a specific location. The logic is preposterous. An open air sniff cannot, by definition, provide any evidence about what is “inside a space”, only about what is in the open air. The whole idea that a general whiff can provide probable cause for a specific location is an oxymoron.

  10. Today’s the 131st anniversary of the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Discovery magazine investigates what really happened.

    I think we all know Han shot first. I also now want to watch Tombstone, by far the best movie ever made about the subject.

    1. Val Kilmer really was great in that.

    2. how do I convince my brother that Tombstone is better than “Wyatt Earp”? He’s indoctrinating his children with this now.

      1. By watching them both? If that doesn’t do it, there are bigger problems at work.

        1. Why Epi, you’re not wearing a bustle. How lewd.

        2. bigger problems at work

          Likely. He is my brother.

      2. There is nothing to convince. If he doesn’t think “I’ll be your Huckleberry.” is better than the Kevin Costner version, then he is already lost.

        1. The line is “I’m your huckleberry”.

          It means Mr. Ringo is an educated man. Now I know I hate him.

          1. So run you curr! Run! And tell all the other currs the law is coming. You tell ’em I’m coming and Warty’s coming with you, you hear?! Warty’s coming with me!!!

            1. Look son, being a good shot, being quick with a pistol, that don’t do no harm, but it don’t mean much next to being cool-headed. A man who will keep his head and not get rattled under fire, like as not, he’ll kill ya. It ain’t so easy to shoot a man anyhow, especially if the son-of-a-bitch is shootin’ back at you.

              /wrong movie I know

        2. “Huckleberry” was a good line. But “Ya’ll can all kiss my Rebel dick.” wins by a nose.

  11. Sometimes dude you just have to roll with the punches, know what i mean?

    1. Oh, AnonBot, you always say the right thing!

      1. Your mother’s a whore!

  12. Where da fuck Cavanaugh at?

  13. alleged doube standard… for firefighter. women claim after being assaulted , cops refused to take report/take it seriously because suspect was firefighter. incident partially caught on video……..npunished/

    1. “So… how long you been a pig… haha… my bad, how long you been a police officer?”

      “I’ve been a pig for eighteen months”

      “So you like it?”

      “Should’a been a fireman… I need two more…”

      1. i used to be a firefighter . if we fought fires more often i would still be one, but way too much medical calls barely any fires 🙁

        could lateral though back to fire in WA state fire and cops use the same retirement system LEOFF II or could take retirement and work private fire dept. boeing fire is top notch

        1. Less opportunity to shoot canines as a firefighter.

          1. but way more opportunity to work out on duty

        2. What that before or after you beat Big Z for the world surfing title?

  14. Inquiring minds want to know if telling the Board to “Eat me” would be considered “practicing nutrition” without a license.

  15. “Practicing nutrition”? Oh. Eating without a license.

  16. Next time we do a Constitution, how about the following in its Bill of Rights: “There shall be no license or permit required of nor issued by any government jurisdiction to practice any profession, trade, skill or job.”

    1. I like it.

      If we can keep lawyers and doctors off the constitutional committee, it has a chance.

  17. So when Sugarfree asks me how to get rid of his manboobs, I can’t advise him to lay off the fried cheeseballs?

  18. Can we jsut roll with it now or what man. WOw.

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