Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

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The shady side of blogging

I find the case against a blogger in the US interesting and I’m not entirely sure what side I fall on. On his website Diabetes-Warrior┬áSteve Cooksey writes about his experience with a paleolithic diet and diabetes. The American Dietetic Association filed a lawsuit against him stating that he was breaking the law by providing nutrition advice without a licence. They won their case and he has since filed an appeal. It’s a murky territory. At this point he makes it abundantly clear that he is not a medical professional. Just a man who’s had great success with the paleo diet and wishes to share it with everyone. The question is: Is he causing harm to others by singing the praises of this diet? If people are aware that he is not a licenced professional and has no training in medicine or nutrition and they still choose to follow his advice it seems to me that they are doing so at their own risk. I get that the ADA is trying to protect the public from kooks. However, I kind of think Steve’s right to free speech might trump that. Plus there are loads of kooks who are Doctors (hello Dr. Oz!) and Dietitians, the only difference is that they can lose their licence if they cause harm to a patient. Of course I wouldn’t want to see anyone become ill as a result of following terrible health and nutrition advice but there’s so much out there anyway what difference is silencing one blogger going to make? And where else could this lead? It worries me that anyone dissenting from government sanctioned advice might be silenced. That could lead to a huge loss of creativity and new developments in the health industry. Perhaps there is a compromise that could be made here. If Mr. Cooksey stopped giving specific health and nutrition advice to readers we could let Mr. Cooksey continue to eat his meat and veg and write about it.